If you’re going to do a workout you might as well be getting some bang for your buck right? But if you think the best workouts include gruelling feats like running a marathon then you’d be wrong.
Dr I-Min Lee, who is a professor of medicine at Harvard Medicine School, has compiled a special health report called ‘Starting to Exercise’ in which she names the five best workouts, definitively.
The study, as reported in the Independent, begins by advising you that running long distances, especially on concrete, is actually pretty awful for your joints and your digestive system.
Instead, Lee recommends five other workouts that offer range of health benefits.
Which ever you pick Lee says that doing it regularly it key.
“What can improve your mood, boost your ability to fend off infection, and lower your risk for heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and colon cancer? The answer is regular exercise.”
Read on for the five best workouts you can do…
“The perfect workout,” according to Lee, is Swimming. That’s right, perfect.
This is due to the low-impact nature of the sport – meaning it is almost strain-free and is not going to hurt your joints.
Swimming also works almost every muscle in your body, giving you a complete workout.
It also raises your heart rate, meaning it improves cardiovascular health and aids weight loss or maintenance.
What’s more if you swim regularly for around 30 to 45 minutes regularly, it can battle depression, stress and age-related decline.
2. Tai Chi
The Chinese martial art of Tai Chi is named the next best form of exercise.
Tai chi consists of flowing movements performed with grace and attention to detail, the exercise’s combination of movement and breathing means its perfect for a range of abilities and ages and acts as a moving meditation.
“Balance is an important component of fitness, and balance is something we lose as we get older,” Lee says of Lee as to why it’s specifically beneficial for the elderly.
3. Strength Training
Third on the list is strength training, in the form of both resistance training and high-intensity interval training (HIIT).
Strengthening the body, Lee suggests, can either be achieved with heavy weights, or more reps with lighter weights.
HIIT, she recommends, due to the combined benefits of strengthening the muscles and cardiovascular benefits.
The key to strength training is key consistency, according to Lee.
So you hate the gym? Good news, walking is one of the best exercises you could do.
Despite it being a low-intensity workout it can still help you lose weight.
But what’s most intriguing are the number of studies that reveal the benefits walking has for the brain.
One study found that elderly participants walking for half an hour, four days a week for three months, “appeared to strengthen connectivity in a region of the brain where weakened connections have been linked with memory loss.”
Another study of 30 minutes of treadmill walking for only 10 consecutive days for the severely depressed found there was, “a clinically relevant and statistically significant reduction in depression.”
5. Kegel Exercises
The final exercise on Lee’s list is one you might not be too familiar with, kegel exercises.
These are the form of exercise that are used to strengthen your pelvic floor, working to maintain the muscles around the uterus, bladder, small intestine and rectum.
Lee says kegel exercises are important for both men and women as our pelvic floors naturally weakens as we all get older, so tightening and releasing these muscles for a few seconds ten times, four or five times a day will help reduce instances in leakages later on in life.