Exercise – However You Want to Do It
View more related buyers guides
Published by TOP4 Team
It’s something most of us feel guilty about not doing enough of. Yet working up a sweat is a guaranteed route to relaxation. Aerobic exercise – anything that speeds up your heartbeat, not necessarily an aerobics class – increases the brain’s output of endorphins, which give a natural high.
Lively exercise improves whatever mood you’re in – if you’re depressed it will cheer you up, and if you’re fine it’ll leave you feeling dynamic. It also works off harmful stress hormones. And the fitter you get through regular exercise, the better your body can cope with stress. Exercise may at first seem just like hard work, but you’ll soon find that it can be fun at the same time as being good for you!
Gentle methods based on increasing flexibility help in a different way, calming and lowering blood pressure. If you’re out of shape, start slowly with a daily walk. If you’re new to exercise classes, choose an activity where you can work out at your own pace, or start off at home with a video. You can always wear an unrevealing tracksuit if you progress to fitness classes – anyway, everyone else is too concerned about their own shape to notice yours!
See what’s on at local sports and leisure centres, gyms, colleges and evening classes, then choose something you enjoy at a level that’s not too hard (if you’re constantly struggling, you’re more likely to injure yourself or give up). If you fancy aerobics but don’t enjoy one class, try someone else’s. Look out for unusual activities, like circus skills or ethnic dance classes that sound like fun.
What’s your style?
Think what you’d enjoy most, and what you don’t want. Swimming’s out, for example, if you need something you can do in odd spare minutes. If you’re not likely to be free at the same time every week, avoid new skills you have to learn in a class. If you need to be highly controlled and organised in your everyday life, give yoga a miss and go dancing.
Do you want...
activities with music?
Dancing, aerobics and a wealth of other fitness classes are now available, such as sliding, stepping and spinning (group exercise-biking).
to make friends?
Try rowing, team sports, and there’s a possibility with any classes, of course. With team games, you’ll need to make a regular commitment to your fellow teammates.
something you can do alone?
Running, power-walking, skipping, exercise-biking, skating, cycling, swimming exercise videos are all possible. If you get bored or feel a lack of encouragement, join a club or work out with a friend.
a new skill?
For martial arts, dance, fencing, gymnastics and acrobatics, you’ll need perseverance – and be willing to take a few falls.
In canoeing, climbing, rambling, orienteering and skiing, you can get cold, wet and possibly hurt, but never bored.
something not too strenuous?
Try circle dancing, swimming, T’ai chi, yoga and similar gentle movement classes.
Try boxing workouts, martial arts, some team games, outdoor activities (some like leisure centre also have indoor climbing walls), or advanced fitness classes.
Get a friend to join you for tennis, table tennis, badminton or squash. Best if you’re at similar levels.
High-impact aerobics (with running or jumping moves) should always be done in a gym with a purpose-built sprung floor. Exercise instructors should have formal qualifications and they’ll know the latest about safe and effective exercises. Let the instructor know if you have any health problems.
- To find good and safe videos, read the reviews in health and fitness magazines.
- If you suffer from any illness, especially high blood pressure, see your doctor before taking up exercise.
Whatever happens in your life, stay fit. If you need professional help, consider the top fitness experts in Australia.