Don’t we all love something that sounds as simple as the title of this article? So many headlines proclaim a variation of “This one simple trick will change your life,” and this one is no different. The notion of simplifying a task that seems endlessly complex is an enticing thing.
So it should come as no surprise that one of the most common questions I hear from our patients is some variation of “What’s the number one exercise I can do to get rid of this unwanted fat?” The patient may then go on to tell me about how their quest for this magical form of exercise led them down the rabbit hole known as an internet search, and how they emerged on the other side even more confused than before.
Is it cardio? Walking? Running? Elliptical? Stair climber? Rowing machine?
Easier and longer or shorter and harder?
Is it Strength training? High repetition, low weights? Low repetition, heavy weights?
How many days per week? How much rest between sessions?
The blessing and the curse of having so much information available via the internet is that for every right answer, there are likely two or more wrong answers. Every single one of these questions will return hundreds of answers, and many of those answers will contradict each other. No wonder we have a hard time starting a workout regimen when we can’t get a concrete answer on what to do!
So let me clear the air once and for all; let me put an end to the unknown.
The best exercise to lose unwanted fat is…
The exercise you will actually do, consistently.
We need to take a step back and be very real with ourselves- what form of exercise are we ACTUALLY going to do on an almost daily basis? Because the thing that gives us the results we want is an accumulation of work over an extended period of time. Period. It’s not some textbook exercise routine where every single variable of every single exercise is exactly in place and done to perfection. The answer isn’t as glamorous as that.
We often over-analyze ourselves into a paralysis and end up doing nothing for fear that we are doing something wrong, when in fact we just need to be doing SOMETHING. Exercise isn’t always something you do in a gym; exercise is anything you do outside of being sedentary. even the simple act of standing up for one hour instead of being seated will burn somewhere between 60-90 calories. So while some people may prefer their exercise to be a hard weightlifting session or a brisk run, that may not be the best thing for YOU to be doing. Maybe you prefer walking, or yoga, or golf! Those are all great exercises for different individuals. The question then is how do we find the right form
of exercise for you?
Answer these three questions:
- What is safe for me to be doing at my current level of health and fitness?
- What are some activities which get me moving that I truly enjoy?
- Which one (or two) of these exercises could I see myself doing most days for the next 2-3 years?
Once you’ve used these questions to narrow down your options, check with your doctor to make sure your preferred exercise is safe for you. If he gives you the green light, get started! And remember, it doesn’t need to be perfect or pretty, it just needs to happen.