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  • Writer's pictureKari Gregory

What is exercise?

I'm not sure we need a Webster's definition yet perhaps a little clarity will give us some parameters. Active living means we walk the dog, shovel the walks, move the manure, and vacuum the house. Such activity keeps us mobile. It's daily 'stuff' and we need to do it. Guess what? We also want to do it with few physical repercussions. Read: aching back from raking leaves or shovelling snow.

Can we interchange the meanings of fitness and exercise? Likely.

Now we are speaking of the 150+ minutes/week Health Canada recommends we participate in for health living.

What's involved with fitness or exercise? Truly, our options are endless. What we want is a moderate sweat and heavy(heavier) breathing activity.

What's the best exercise? One(likely more) you'll actually do. If you don't swim or loathe group fitness, then make another choice. Remember what I said about the options being endless?

When is the best time? When you'll do it. I'm a morning person so embrace the morning sweat. However, some of my training takes place with a group and I'm not sure they're keen to do an indoor ride at 5:30 a.m. That means I get a stellar ride with them one evening a week.

Can I tell you how I roll with timing of workouts? The longer in the day I leave it, the less likely I am to get the planned workout finished--unless I've signed up for something. For example, the text comes in and our daughter who doesn't yet drive wants(maybe also 'needs') a ride. The Mom-guilt steps in and I might shorten my workout or reschedule it. I may also have a client who asks for a last-minute schedule change and that can compromise my workout plans.

But you know what else? I can also figure out a way to get her where she needs to be and have my run at the same time. Or, pack the TRX and use it at the playground while she's doing her thing. That's me stepping up as opposed to stepping out.

The moral of my story is: early in the morning gets my workout done and I'm feeling fine for the day; anything else is a bonus. For someone else, the post-work-day workout may get them through the family door happier and more engaged for the evening. The goal is to get it done and done well.

To re-visit the type of exercise, consider what we want and need. As a competitive triathlete I engage in the swim/bike/run formula. It's always managed on a schedule and includes strength work--always strength work too. I also need mobility so rolling and stretching and functional movements are a must. The calendar keeps me organized and on track.

Everyone needs cardio conditioning to extend a walk, enjoy a hike and challenge our heart and lungs. We also need strength work to squat and lift a plant, child or groceries. Functional fitness means when we have a workout we include challenging movements, perhaps under body weight or weighted loads, to build muscle and strength.

Where do we start, especially with movements and exercises that aren't familiar? Maybe that's where I come in. Certified Personal Fitness Trainers devise and implement a fitness program that speaks to individual goals. Regardless of current age or fitness, there can be a workout plan that fits.

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