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The Most Important Exercise...

Is the One You Actually Do

There are many “experts” out there that will tell you that this exercise or that exercise is the best for you either because of how many calories it burns, or how intense it is, or how easy it is to perform. The truth of the matter is that they are all right, and at the same time, they are all wrong.

Scientifically speaking, running usually wins out at the best exercise, because it uses the most muscle for the duration of exercise, but try and tell that to someone with osteoarthritis in their knees and hips. Conversely, you’ve heard lately about how you should drop the cardio and focus on strength training, and in some cases on big exercises like power cleans, clean and jerks, deadlifts, squats, pull ups and so on. Those are fantastic exercises for those who are coached correctly on the appropriate technique. The wrong technique with those exercises will very likely end in injury leading to less fitness overall.

So what is the best exercise? The answer is both easy and the epitome of common sense: it is the exercise you will do. If you are sedentary and not exercising at all, or you are a casual exerciser and not exercising enough, then the best exercise for you is the exercise you will actually do on a regular basis. It doesn’t matter what anyone tells you, from a personal trainer to a TV infomercial guru, the “best” exercise in the world won’t have any effect if you’re not doing it.

If you’re stuck and not sure where to start, you can definitely hire a trainer, buy a book, or follow a video, but it still comes back to doing what you enjoy. If you enjoy it, you’re more likely to do it and keep doing it. Once you’re on a roll of exercising most days of the week, then you can start to add intensity to deliver even greater results. If you like walking, you can walk more briskly. If you enjoy lifting weights, add more weight or learn how to do more complex exercises.

So if you’re within the approximately 80% of Canadians who don’t exercise enough to improve their health, just do something, because anything is better than nothing. Start with whatever you want to do, no matter what anyone tells you about it being “not good enough.” Once it is a habit, which takes on average 66 days to create, then you can start to do other things that may impart even greater results.

Do what you enjoy and keep going. Pretty soon you’ll find yourself loving exercise and wanting to do more.


A speaker, coach and author, and combining almost 30 years of fitness and wellness, Rod is the vice president of canfitpro, the largest provider of education in the Canadian fitness industry. Overseeing this dynamic 100,000 member organization, Rod continues to propel its growth and position as a leader in the global fitness industry. Rod is a cross-Canada cyclist, NLP Practitioner, RYT 200, Certified Coach Practitioner, and 4-time Ironman finisher. For more information on Rod, visit  and for and for more information on canfitpro, visit