Give it to me straight. What’s the best exercise? As an exercise physiologist, I often get the question from people who want to start exercising, “What’s the best exercise?” I know where this question is coming from.

People want to use their time wisely, they want to maximize their exercise time – get a good workout and do it in the least amount of time.

Imbedded in this query is also, “How long do I have to do it?” and “Can I just not do it at all?” –which sounds a little like a middle schooler’s questions about sex but that is another topic altogether.

So let’s make this simple people. What’s the best exercise? The exercise that burns the most calories, the fat-burning, booty-kicking, Beyonce-shimmying, 8-pack ab-giving workout that will change your life?

What’s the best exercise?


The one you will actually do, and do on a regular basis.

The best exercise is the one you have time and energy for today. The best exercise is the one you can sustain for 30 years. The one or, in fact, the several kinds of physical activity that keep you stimulated, building muscle, get your heart pumping, increasing your flexibility over a week, a month, several years.

Moving past the road blocks, our perfectionist tendencies, the inertia that sometimes gets in our way is a way to move more, and whatever way you can figure out to move more….well, that is the best exercise for you.

We get caught up in the best way to do things when sometimes just getting started, any way, is enough.

Okay, so Ann, stop fooling around and let me have it. What, REALLY IS the best exercise?

What if I told you climbing Everest without oxygen is the best fat burning exercise? You’d say, Ok, cool. What’s the next best exercise?

Then we will be singing the song that never ends. You have to figure out what you want, what your life is okay with, what you are willing to do, and what you like to do, somewhere in there is the BEST exercise (For You) and as far as I’m concerned you are all that matters.

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