“The single most effective exercise”
“Burn fat with this one weird trick.”
“The best way to lose weight, gain muscle, conquer the universe.”
I see these catchy headlines all the time, often paired with arguments in the comments on social media. Many of them have merit and scientific backing. Some of them are completely false.
So what is the single most effective exercise?
Fortunately, I know the answer to that question. Honestly, you probably know the answer too if you think about it. Go ahead; I’ll give you a minute.
The single most effective exercise is the one to which you can commit. I’ll take it a step further: it’s likely the one you enjoy the most.
Let’s backtrack a bit. We forget that the intention of exercise at its core is health and longevity. We may start a program for bigger muscles, less fat, to look better, to feel better, but in simplest form, it’s all about being healthier.
BeachBody workouts are never going to build the muscle and burn the fat that heavy weightlifting programs will. However, if you’re a busy mom who doesn’t have the flexibility to hit the gym, and you enjoy the effects of an exercise video then that’s the most effective form of exercise for you.
Running may burn calories at a quicker rate, but if you enjoy taking a daily walk and have no desire to add speed, walking is the most effective form of exercise for you.
Yoga is never going to have the same high-intensity burn of Crossfit, but you fold yourself into a crow position then tell me it’s an easy exercise. If it’s what you love, it’s the most effective exercise for you.
Barre, cycling, boxing, Zumba, swimming, they all have unique benefits and pitfalls. We often forget that the most important aspect of all of these methods of exercise is movement. You are moving. You are increasing your heart rate and making yourself feel better.
So Here’s Your Homework
Which leads to the other most important aspect of exercise programs: try new things. There is something out there for everyone. You don’t have to marry a program or exercise type. Try it out, see how you feel afterward (take how you feel during with a grain of salt) and go from there. If you hate it, move on. On the other hand, if you love it, you’re set. If you only tolerate it, have mixed feelings, and set your relationship as “it’s complicated” then give it another shot and abandon it if your relationship can’t be salvaged (here’s me looking at you Crossfit).
Try something you’d usually scoff at (see me get slaughtered at Barre class here) for being too easy. Try and understand someone else’s hard. Go outside your comfort zone and challenge yourself to find the single most effective exercise for you.
And if you’re no longer reading because you fell out of the crow pose and busted your nose, that’s fine too.
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