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What’s the best exercise for you?

By
WebMD Feature
Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks

So you’ve decided you need to take more exercise. Brilliant! But you can’t decide what to do? There’s so much choice from running and cycling to swimming and circuits. Not to mention the gazillions of exercise classes on offer from Zumba to boxercise.

You can make your choice easier by considering these three simple questions:

1. What will I enjoy?

Getting started with any exercise programme can be daunting at the start but if you enjoy it, you’re more likely to actually stick with it.

Think about activities you liked as a child. If you enjoyed netball, maybe think about an adult netball club. If football was your thing, there are plenty of five-a-side teams on the lookout for players, just ask at your local leisure centre.

If you like music, consider a dance-based aerobic routine.

Why not try out a few different classes and see which appeals to you. Experiment a little until you find something you click with.

Shake it up a bit and do different activities so you don’t get bored. Think about where you’d like to exercise, indoors or outside.

"Most exercisers will adhere to a program, routine, class or particular exercise because they simply enjoy it," says Ian Rushbury, head of fitness at the leisure centre chain 1Life. "Exercise choice doesn't always have to require the gruelling effort that is associated with gyms or getting fit, it can be simply that you enjoy the feeling of doing the exercise or you enjoy the feeling after the exercise is complete i.e. physically fatigued or mentally energised."

2. Do I want to exercise alone or in a group?

If you do exercise alone you need self-motivation. Some of us prefer to exercise in the comfort of our own homes, maybe working out to a fitness or yoga DVD.

Running alone is also popular. It’s easy, requires no planning, just stick on your trainers and off you go. You can listen to music or just enjoy the feeling of your feet pounding the ground. It clears your mind as well as being brilliant exercise. You can try running interspersed with walking at first.

You can work out alone at the gym too. An instructor will write you up a programme and you can follow that with minimal interaction with others if that’s how you prefer to exercise – in your own personal zone.

Another alternative is personal training maybe just to ease you into exercise.

"Personal training is the gateway for a lot of people to get themselves back on track. It's motivation tailored to their needs that allows them to reach their targets however big or small," says sports therapist and personal trainer Ruth Tompkins. "I find that many people need confidence to take part in a class, that's where personal training really can open up opportunities for them."

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