Want to resume physical activity? How do I know what is the best exercise for me?

These four questions can guide you in exploring new activities.

What is the best exercise for you? The one you will do. To stay motivated and challenged, try something new. The questions below can get you thinking about what you can do to expand your range of physical activities.

1 What factors should I consider when choosing a new exercise?

Your responses may include:

Pleasure or personal interest

Pick something that sounds fun or that you’ve always wanted to try.


Is the activity near you? Can it easily fit into your schedule?

Social factors

Do you like to exercise alone?

Skill level required

Can you take an online class or virtually meet with an instructor if needed?

Physical impact level

Does the activity involve high-impact movements that might not be right for you?

2 Which is better: one exercise that focuses on a specific part of my body, like abs or thighs, or several types of exercises that use different parts of the body?

Abdominal exercises will help you strengthen your muscles and improve your posture, but they won’t help you “spot-cut” or lose weight around your abdomen. The main thing here is to burn calories. Aerobic (cardio) exercise is the most effective way to burn calories, and there are many types of exercises to try, such as cycling, jogging, and working out on an elliptical machine. Cross-training, which involves alternating your training program with different exercises, can reduce the risk of injury to a specific muscle or joint due to overuse, and can help alleviate boredom.

3 What if a new exercise I’m trying hurts?

Painful exercises are not beneficial and can lead to serious injury. It can also destroy your motivation. Stop any activity if it hurts you and try something else! It’s normal to feel some pain after trying a new exercise, but no pain.

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4 What steps can I take to avoid injury while exercising?

Warm up before exercising. Start with a less intense (slower, easier) version of your cardio activity for 5-10 minutes. Wear appropriate footwear and protective gear.

Drink plenty of fluids before, during and after exercise. Cool down after exercise. Do a less intense version of what you did during your workout for 5-10 minutes, or try general recovery exercises.

Get enough sleep.


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