Whenever you go on Facebook, a news site, or a health and wellness site, you are likely bombarded with articles or links to posts on exercise.
New routines for you to try, the quick workout that promises results, or the new workout that researchers have deemed to be the best for weight loss.
And while they may all have their valid research and support, it can be hard to know which one you should do and which ones are simply going to be a waste of your time and money.
More important than which ones you should do are which ones are best for you.
Here’s what you need to know about 4 main categories of exercise to help you find the right fit for your fitness routine:
High Intensity Interval Training, this is the category of exercise that is often touted as being the best for weight loss. It involves short bursts of exercise, at a high intensity, with only a short rest in between. The result is a fast increase in heart rate and fast activation of muscles, cells, oxygen etc. to energize the body as necessary. To make all this happen, your body has to constantly be working, and this constant work and required energy output is very demanding on calories, helping you burn a lot in a short amount of time. It is a great exercise option if you don’t have much time to workout, or are the type of person who likes the all or nothing approach to exercise.
Low Intensity Steady State exercise, or endurance exercise, is the state of exercise you reach when you do long stints of unvarying cardiovascular exercise, such as running or cycling. Your heart rate increases to get you to the state where you need to be to perform, and then stays there for the duration of the work out. There are not large spikes in energy demands or muscle firing requirements, and the main calorie burning in this type of exercise comes from duration more than intensity. That said, if you aren’t doing steady state for a long period of time (at least 30 minutes), it is likely having a low impact for you in terms of burning calories.
This includes everything from lifting weights to Pilates to classes such as body pump and kettle bell. Depending on the type of strengthening exercise you are doing, it may fall into HIIT, or more LISS. The important thing with strengthening is simply that you are working and fatiguing your muscles. Taking the muscles to fatigue is what facilitates that building of new muscle fibers and what helps us increase in strength. Even if you aren’t looking to build muscle, regularly encouraging new muscle formation ensures our muscles stay healthy and prevents any atrophy due to underuse.
Containing mainly yoga and stretching, this category is incredibly good for slowing and relaxing the mind and is an important complimentary category to other types of exercise. Any regular routine of HIIT or strengthening, which puts strain and stress on the muscles and body, is balanced by flexibility training, which seeks to help the muscles recover.
As you can see, each type of exercise is different in terms of what it does, and what types of exercises fall into each category. The best option is to have some of each within your routine, but the most important thing is that you find the one that you like, that works for you and that you can stick with!