What Workout Should You Be Doing? Your Guide to Choosing Exercise

Article posted in: Fitness
choosing exercise

Everyone is different, especially when it comes choosing exercise. If you sign up for an expensive fitness class at a gym that you don’t even have time to go to once a week, you’re likely to give it up quickly. Picking the right workout for your personality, lifestyle and fitness goals can be crucial to whether or not you commit to keeping your new fitness routine.

Choosing exercise can be hard—and that’s why we’ve created a workout guide so you can decide which workout works best for your body and your schedule. Whether you want to focus on burning a lot of calories in a little amount of time or performing low-impact activities to benefit your long-term, overall health, there is a workout that meets your needs. Read on to figure out which exercise you should be doing to get in shape based on your own personal preferences, lifestyle habits and weight loss goals.

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Find out which type of workout is right for you when choosing exercise :

1. Try HIIT workouts

HIIT workouts

Want to burn fat fast with high-impact activities?

If time is of essence, then there’s an easy answer when it comes to choosing exercise. Get the best value out of your workout with high-intensity interval training, or HIIT. HIIT workouts are ideal for people who want to lose fat, burn calories and tone muscle but don’t have a ton of time to spare. Potentially the most efficient way to work out, HIIT workouts are comprised of short bursts of intense activity that raise the heart rate, followed by periods of rest and recovery for the body.

Types of HIIT exercise:

  • Biking at high resistance, then low resistance
  • Sprinting then jogging
  • Jumping jacks, burpees, squat jumps or jump lunges

Don’t have a lot of time to work out?

HIIT workouts are best for people without a ton of time to spend at the gym, out running or at a fitness class. High-intensity workouts are great for busy lifestyles because they don’t take long (each HIIT is only a few reps or minutes of high-impact exercise), don’t require any gym equipment and can be performed almost anywhere you feel comfortable. One study from the International Journal of Sport Nutrition Medicine and Exercise Metabolism found that just two minutes of interval sprint training increased fat loss and metabolism about as much as 30 minutes of endurance training. So, if you’re short on time, don’t fret! Choosing exercise has a simple alternative for people wanting to get in a short, but impactful workout—and that’s HIIT training.

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Looking to work hard and lose fat fast?

High-intensity activities require you giving your all, so that you kick your body into overdrive to increase your heart rate and metabolism to burn fat fast! As shown by a study published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition Medicine and Exercise Metabolism, women who performed high-intensity activities three times a week for 12 weeks reduced their body weight and lost significant inches of fat—specifically in the waist, stomach and legs (muscle mass also increased in their legs). The individuals also experienced increased benefits to their cardiovascular health and metabolism from practicing HIIT.

Want to burn calories all day long?

The advantage of HIIT workouts, according to Healthline, is that you will burn more calories after your workout while your body is recovering and restoring the muscles you’re building. A study in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition Medicine and Exercise Metabolism found that practicing high-impact sprints in two-minute intervals increased metabolism for up to 24 hours after the workout. A study published in Sports Medicine – Open states that compared to weight training and running, HIIT workouts offer the greatest increase in metabolism to burn calories post workout.

2. Try Running

running

Looking to get healthy and in shape at your own pace? 

Running is a great option for people who are choosing exercise simply to get in better shape while improving their overall health. A study from the American Journal of Epidemiology found that a total amount of just two-and-a-half hours of running each week, regardless of speed, resulted in a lower risk of death by all causes.

Want a simple workout for your entire body?

If you like free-form exercise and don’t want to deal with fitness classes or gym equipment, running can be the best way for you to burn calories and get fit. Running is a universally accessible workout that requires all your muscles to work together at the same time to aid your body’s movements. According to Healthline, running not only works all of your leg, arm and glute muscles, but your core also gets a good workout as it keeps your spine straight and your hips, pelvis and knees stable while running.

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Want to burn more calories and eat less?

As shown by research published by Harvard Health, running for 30 minutes can burn more calories than 30 minutes of many other activities, including weight training, swimming and other types of aerobic activities. Findings published in the American Journal of Physiology show how aerobic exercises, such as running, can produce more of the hormone ghrelin in the body to regulate and suppress the body’s appetite during and after exercise.

Looking to avoid injury and improve body movement?

While there are many fancy fitness machines and classes out there, running remains one of the easiest and best ways to get in shape overall and lose weight. You’ll also improve your flexibility, heart rate, cardiovascular health and metabolism. Because you’re working out just about every muscle in your body at once, you’ll increase your body’s range of motion and flexibility. This leads to a reduced risk for injuries from other activities or aging, keeping your body fit and strong!

3. Try Yoga

yoga

Want an activity to relieve stress and anxiety?

Choosing exercise for those looking for something beneficial to both the mind and body has one simple answer—yoga. Yoga is an ancient set of wellness practices meant to bring the body and mind together in unison to support wellness. Practicing yoga to reduce anxiety is a powerful way to promote relaxation and alleviate the many detrimental symptoms of stress, including poor sleep, migraines, neck pain and more. A study in Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice found a significant decrease in perceived anxiety and depression in women after a two-month yoga course. Another study published in the Journal of International Society of Preventative & Community Dentistry found that individuals who practiced yoga regularly had low levels of cortisol, the hormone that’s produced in the body as a response to stress.

Looking for a low-impact exercise to increase strength and flexibility?

Yoga can be different depending on how and where you do it, but it generally encompasses meditation, breathing exercises and different body poses. Meditation and breathing help to center the mind and focus your thoughts while the yoga poses themselves work to stretch different muscles and increase overall flexibility and balance. Certain yoga poses can improve muscle strength and help promote weight loss. Regular practice of the sun salutation move over a 24-week period was linked to an increase in muscle mass and a decrease in body fat percentage and BMI in women, as shown by a study published in Asian Journal of Sports Medicine.

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Want to feel better and improve your quality of life?

As already stated, yoga has some major benefits for the body and mind that can improve the overall quality of your life on a day-to-day basis. Information published in in Alternative Therapies of Health and Medicine showed that healthy seniors experienced improved feelings of well-being as well as better energy, decreased fatigue and improved flexibility after six months of yoga. Yoga has also been studied by Osteopathic.org for its positive effects on sleep, breathing, inflammation, chronic pain and depression.

Want to develop healthy eating habits?

Yoga involves meditation and gives the user the ability to learn mindfulness and practice mindful eating habits. Eating mindfully can mean that you are more aware of all the sensations involved with consuming food, so you can learn to control your emotional and physical responses to food. The focus and enlightenment yoga provides can be beneficial for both people with poor eating habits and people who want to learn healthy ones. One study in Complementary Therapies in Medicine found that performing regular, formal yoga sessions at home can be useful in treating binge eating. Mindful eating as a result of meditation puts an emphasis on consciously living well and can also lead to an improved diet and modest weight loss.

4. Try Weight Training

choosing exercise

Looking for a moderately intense activity to control your weight?

Choosing exercise is easy for those looking to tone up and lean out. Weight training is an amazing activity to perform at home or in the gym if you want help losing or maintaining your weight. You can easily perform some type of strength training by using free weights, machines or the weight of your own body, e.g., crunches, push-ups, pull-ups, etc. While you can work out any group of muscles you want, resistance training will build body muscle mass to keep you lean and promote the burning of calories to restore your developing muscles.

Want to build and preserve muscle mass? 

Losing muscle mass is a growing concern that comes with aging, so performing regular weight training can build and preserve muscle mass regardless of your age. As we age, muscle mass becomes more important to retain because it helps us stay fit, avoid injury, promote metabolic health and protect bone density. According to Healthline, because women have high levels of estrogen, it’s less likely you’ll develop into a female Hulk, but you will keep your feminine figure while building muscle definition, strength and endurance.

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Want to burn calories and boost your metabolism?

As opposed to cardio exercise, weight training builds and maintains far more muscle mass, therefore increasing the necessary energy expenditure in the body. As your muscles grow and develop, your body needs to use more energy to restore them, thus burning more calories when you are inactively recovering from your weight training workout. Information from National Strength & Conditioning Association explains that even though the act of resistance exercise uses fewer calories, the post-exercise rest periods are when fat utilization is increased in the body—which enhances fat loss and improves overall body composition. Your metabolic rate will rise after regular weight training to maintain your new muscle mass and promote your body’s fat-burning capabilities.

Ready to get started with your fitness journey? Here’s a full body workout video >