The media seems to constantly reinforce the idea that only skinny is pretty, but that’s not really true. What’s attractive is health and vitality, which has less to do with your weight than you might think.
While certain diseases do occur more often in people who are overweight, simply carrying a few extra pounds does not automatically mean that you are unhealthy.
So forget about the damn scale and just focus on health. We have collected 6 exercises that are perfect for giving you energy and keeping you fit. And yes, you might even lose weight.
A lot of modern jobs keep us tied to a desk all day, which signals the body that it doesn’t need to produce much energy. That’s why you probably feel fatigue stealing over your body by mid-afternoon. A perfect solution is to get up and do 10-15 minutes of brisk walking.
If you are looking for an energy boost, head outside. Studies show that a continually changing environment helps to relieve stress, a further drain on your energy levels. Make sure to keep a pace that doesn’t elevate your heart rate past the point where you can comfortably talk to a companion – this will fatigue your body and use up the energy it creates.
Of course, if you are looking to slim down or wind down at the end of a long day, feel free to push yourself and walk as fast as you can.
Yoga is a form of focused stretching that relaxes the mind and the body. It opens up the joints in a way that normal daily activities do not, relieving pain caused by repetitive stress and allowing the body to stay limber. It also releases stored energy in your muscles and signals the body to make more.
If you don’t have time for a full yoga session, simply stretching for 10-15 minutes also improves flexibility and gets your blood flowing. Stretch your large muscle groups first (back and legs) and then move on to arms, hands, feet, and neck. Hold tension for 15-20 seconds for each stretch, and do as many reps as you have the time for.
HIIT training is all the rage right now, and for good reason. It stands for High Intensity Interval Training, and this type of exercise positively blasts through calories in a surprisingly short amount of time.
To do it, alternate a period of high intensity cardio with a period of rest. You could do 45 seconds on, 30 seconds rest, or equal periods of work and rest. Repeat the pattern over as little as 15 minutes for an awesome energy boost and a fast pass to weight loss.
There are hundreds of free HIIT workout videos online of varying length and intensities. You’ll never get bored because you can always pick the perfect workout for the day.
Pilates is meant to strengthen your core, but it’s about way more than sit-ups. Think of it as a more intense form of yoga, with a focus on strengthening and lengthening muscles without adding bulk. There is also a mind-body component that helps to relieve stress.
There are actually two types of Pilates class. One is a mat class – Pilates mats are slightly thicker than yoga mats in order to cushion pressure points. Once you know the moves, you can do mat Pilates at home.
Then there is a reformer class. This is more intense and utilizes a series of machines with fun names, most commonly the Wunda (a low chair with springs and padding), the Cadillac (shaped like a bed featuring a canopy frame), and the Magic Circle (a resistance ring often used between the legs). You may also come across the high chair and the spine corrector machines in a Pilates reformer class.
Swimming is an excellent full-body exercise that provides both cardio and muscle toning while cushioning your joints at the same time. It’s also very relaxing to be surrounded by water, and some people theorize that this is because we all spend our first nine months of life living in liquid.
There are lots of ways to exercise in water, so you can avoid the boredom that often derails workouts. Swimming laps is the most basic, but you can also take a water aerobics class. Many rec center pools also feature a lazy river, and walking against the current (or even with it) is an excellent form of resistance training.
Whatever you like
The best exercise is the kind that you enjoy, because if it’s nothing but a chore, you won’t keep it up. Before you say that no exercise is fun exercise, consider that the definition can include many activities you might not expect. Dancing and gardening are good examples.
And though it’s not necessarily fun, even cleaning the house can be a workout. Sometimes just knowing that you are multi-tasking two important jobs at once can improve your mood.
Another way to keep your workouts more engaging is to do them with a friend. When you spend time on building relationships while exercising, you improve your quality of life in all sorts of ways.
Exercise is necessary to keep the body fit and energized, and it also improves mood considerably. Aim for at least three sessions per week and you’ll live your life healthy and upbeat, no matter your body size. That’s something to be proud of.