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Sunday, 9 September 2007

What is the Best Exercise?

I just finished my Sunday 5k run. Some days your legs/knees/feet hurt the whole way and some days your lungs feel like they are going to explode. Some days neither of those things happen and you feel like you could run forever. Today was one of those days.

I ran (without walking) 5.21km in 32:58 minutes at a pace of 6'19" per kilometre. Apparently I ran a new personal best for the fastest mile - I know this because Lance Armstrong congratulated me at the end of my run. My N1k3+ has this cool feature when you reach a new record of having Lance Armstrong say something encouraging. Way cool!

While I was running I was thinking about what is the best type of exercise. As with nutrition, there is a whole range of differing opinions on what to do for fitness, health and weight loss or maintenance.

The body builders say that pumping iron is best because although you don't burn alot of calories in a session you burn more calories all day long. Even they can't agree though if you should lift heavy or light, fast or slow, 1 set or 4, 12 reps or 5.

Pilates people say that if you work your core you will have long lean dancer's muscles.

Yoga gurus say that you need flexibility and mind/body awareness to achieve a perfect body.

The walkers say that doing moderate exercise means you burn more fat and avoid injury.

The runners say that running is the fastest of all ways to burn calories ... and cryptically refer to the holy grail of running - the runners "high".

So what is best??

The answer is
- whatever you genuinely enjoy doing
- whatever you can do that your body responds to without injury
- whatever you can work on improving
- whatever you can do for the rest of your life

So if you compare a fitness model, a dancer, a yoga instructor, an olympic walker, marathoner or a sprinter, they all have something in common. They are lean, muscled and fit. So if you commit to training like an athlete, although the journey is different, the destination is the same.

It doesn't matter what exercise you do - as the famous slogan goes JUST DO IT!

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