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Choosing the Right Exercise

choosing the right exercise, dumbells

As the title for the blog says, this is about choosing the right exercise. Well, here you are, you’ve decided you need to start working out, or maybe you’ve been trying to start for a while now but just haven’t been able to make it stick.

Personally, I get really bored working out by myself, just for the sake of working out. Valerie is the really committed one there. I’ve stuck with her as she launches into intense workouts after each kid as she tackles her baby fat. Usually the only way I stay motivated is by working out with her as she does her yoga, dance, aerobics, or tai chi. If it were just me I’d last a week at best. I know, I’ve tried before. The only way I keep at it is if it’s part of something else. In my case, I was in the best shape of my life when I competed ballroom dance. It worked for me because it wasn’t work, it was training and competing. The music was good too.

Do what you like

climbing a mountain

How does that translate for you? Well, you need to learn what motivates you before launching into some new exercise routine.

If you’re motivated by competition you can set up a challenge with some of your friends. Or try a sport that requires daily practice. Do you love being outdoors you can try hiking, jogging or running, biking, etc… If you like being social, then take classes or find a group to work out with that’s at your level.

Are you the sort that likes to read? Then use a treadmill or elliptical and prop up a good book. If you like video games, there are some great dance workouts out there; my wife has one of these.

What’s your motivation?

As a fun sort of exercise, and if you want to get crazy with figuring out your motivations, here’s a link to a pretty reputable personality test. More than anything I’d suggest looking at it to help pinpoint what drives you, so that you can harness that drive to keep you motivated (it works for all aspects of life, not just exercise) Take the test

Once you’ve taken this test, take a moment to think of what motivates you. If you are introverted, maybe really social classes aren’t your best option. On the other hand, taking a book to the gym or going out for regular long walks might be one of the best parts of your day. While, that might not work if you’re moreworking out together extroverted. Instead do something that lets you relax and build up a sweat while spending time with friends.

As I like challenges I am thinking of starting up running. Running a marathon is on my to do list, though right now it’s about a thousand miles away from where I am right now.

Health concerns

This should go without saying but don’t pick an exercise that your body can’t handle. I realize that playing on a competitive rugby team might have been fun as a twenty year old, but if you’re fifty and out of shape with bad knees you should rethink your choice.


timeAlthough indoor rock climbing might sound fun, and maybe it’s something you’ve done before and loved it, but if you don’t have the time or money in your budget then it’s a bad choice.

Ease of access

Ease of access is important in choosing the right exercise, since distance is an obstacle to working out. If you struggle to get out and exercise, then the more obstacles in your way, the less likely you will be to follow through. Distance traveled to exercise is important too. A study done in Canada found that as our commute increases our happiness decreases.

Some final thoughts on choosing the right exercise

While you think about choosing the right exercise, remember that there is no one perfect choice, don’t think that you have to find the perfect exercise or else you’ll fail. Just pick one that fits in your life and makes you happy. All that I’ve said here is to keep you from picking something that you hate, doing it for a week and giving up. And if in choosing the right exercise you choose the wrong one, who cares. Just quit and try something else. What really matters is that you’re getting out there and choosing to make yourself the happiest and healthiest that you can be.

Return to Exercise Principles

Choosing the Right Exercise for You
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