Does the thought of running make your knees ache? Do gym memberships make you long for the great outdoors? How about hiking? Oh, wait, bugs. Maybe you've been thinking about exercising for some time now and haven't taken that first step. "The key is to find something you like and stick with it," said Joe Kekoanui, owner of Huddle Reactive Sports Training. "Just because your friend found their workout mojo through running doesn't mean you will. There's definitely an exercise for everyone; it's just a matter of continuing to try until something works for you." If you haven't exercised in a while, Kekoanui suggests starting with low-impact exercises. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Try: walking. It's an easy place to start without putting strain on your joints, and the safest way to burn calories and build cardiovascular endurance. Another great benefit is that it can be done anywhere and won't cost you a cent.
Try: biking. Because you use leg muscles when riding a bike, it's a great way to tone up. And because those muscles are the biggest muscle group in the body, they tend to burn more calories.
Try: yoga. It will help you stay active without impact. Maintaining range of motion and flexibility, as well as developing core strength, is important for posture. Yoga can help you burn calories, increase core strength, and keep your joints flexible.
Try: swimming. This workout puts zero stress on your joints, but burns calories and increases your cardiovascular endurance. You can find an indoor pool at some local gyms and at community centers. Both facilities often host private and group classes.
Try: hiking. This low-impact exercise can be very challenging depending on the type of trail. A brisk pace gets your heart rate up and gets your leg muscles toned.
Try: golf. It's a great group sport with all of the benefits of walking, if you don't drive a cart.
Try: Tai Chi. Taking classes can help with balance and flexibility, and keep your mind and body connected. It's also a good way to socialize.
Try: rowing. Being in the boat burns calories, promotes heart health, and builds upper body strength. If you row as part of a team, it's a good way to make new friends.
Try: ballroom dancing. Not only is it a bonding activity for couples, it's great for working on balance and coordination and, depending on the moves, breaking a sweat.
Try: Pilates. This workout offers core strengthening and increased flexibility, as well as keeping the impact to a minimum. Depending on the class, Pilates gives you a great body-weighted workout while strengthening the core and promoting spinal and postural health.
Ask yourself the following questions:
1. Would you prefer to be indoors at a gym or outside?
2. Do you want to be part of a class or would you prefer a solo exercise like running or walking?
3. Do you need an accountability buddy? You can exercise together or workout on your own and report back to each other.
4. Can't find the time? Set aside 30 to 60 minutes a day. It could be as simple as walking to the train to work, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or parking at the far end of the lot so you can squeeze in some extra steps.