What is the best type of exercise for you?

What is the best type of exercise for you?

Published on 7th January, 2022 at 04:23 pm

Struggling to find a workout routine that sticks? Here’s how to find the type of exercise that fits you and your lifestyle.

We all know that we should be factoring exercise into our routine, but most of us aren’t getting enough of it. One 2018 national survey revealed that 57.4% of South Africans were not physically active and, therefore, don’t meet healthy fitness levels. The World Health Organization also claims that one in four adults worldwide isn’t getting enough physical activity and that, if the global population was more active, around five million premature deaths could be prevented. “There are plenty of physical and psychological benefits associated with following a regular exercise routine,” says personal trainer at Planet Fitness, Colin Shika. “These include assisting with weight control, reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease, promoting better sleep, improving your mood and boosting your energy levels.”

Here are tips for staying active during the pandemic.

Plenty of us have tried to start a new fitness regime at some point, but even with the best of intentions, it falls by the wayside. There may be a scientific reason for why different people respond better or worse to different types of training. Recent research suggests that the proteins in our blood and the secretion of chemicals they stimulate can affect our organs, and can be measured to indicate how well someone has responded to a workout. While these are just the initial findings, the takeaway is that it is possible to find a form of exercise that works for you – it may just take some experimentation to get there.

Want to find your perfect workout? Sanlam Reality Club, Core, Plus and Health members get up to 80% off monthly gym fees at Planet Fitness and JustGym, which include online gym classes. Click here to find out more.

Types to try

Fortunately, there are plenty of options when it comes to breaking a sweat. Here are five popular ones to try while on the hunt for your perfect exercise match.


“High-intensity interval training is a high-impact style of training where you work at your maximum capacity,” explains Shika. “This is done through short, intense bursts of exercises combined with short or active recovery periods in between. The benefits of HIIT can include burning more calories in a shorter amount of time, an increased metabolic rate after your workout, an increase in your fitness levels, better oxygen consumption, help with weight loss and muscle toning, and reducing your resting heart rate and blood pressure.”


“Yoga is a low-impact form of exercise that will strengthen and lengthen your muscles while burning calories and toning your body,” says Shika. “The physical benefits of this ancient practice include increased flexibility and mobility, better body awareness, increased muscle strength, protection against injuries, more efficient breathing and an overall better and more relaxed mood.”


Do you feel at one with the water? “Swimming is a low-impact activity that prevents strain on joints,” says Shika. “Incorporating swimming in your exercise routine can include benefits such as increased muscular and cardiovascular endurance, maintaining a healthy heart and lungs, toning your muscles, building strength and maintaining a healthy weight while keeping the impact low on your body.” In other words, all the benefits, but none of the injuries associated with other sports.


When it comes to cycling, this exercise can vary from low- to high-intensity depending on your skill level and fitness goals,” explains Shika. “Because it is a non-weight-bearing exercise, it keeps the impact on your body low while improving your cardiovascular fitness, increasing your muscle strength, strengthening your bones, improving your joint mobility, improving your posture and coordination, and reducing your stress levels.” It’s not a bad mode of transportation, either!


Another type of exercise that can offer a range of intensities, boxing provides a great full-body workout. “The benefits of incorporating boxing into your exercise routine can include increased fitness levels and core and muscle strength, weight management, improved balance and hand-eye coordination, better posture and improved alertness and overall mood,” Shika explains.

Finding your fit

Staying active and making exercise part of your life can have significant benefits for your wellbeing, but how can you tell if your workout routine is doing its job? “When starting your exercise journey, it may be challenging to establish a workout routine that works best for you and your goals,” says Shika. “Remember: results don’t happen overnight, so you don’t have to pull out the scale every morning! Do a check-in every three to six weeks to ensure your exercise programme is working for you.”

Struggling to stick to your exercise routine? Use these tips to form good habits.

Shika says there are some factors to consider when searching for your best exercise fit:

  • Is there a type of exercise you enjoy? Include it! “When you look forward to keeping fit it can help you to form new, healthy habits.”
  • Try new activities. “There are so many ways to get active, so there’s no chance of getting bored. Start exploring your options!”
  • Pick forms of exercise that fit into your lifestyle and daily routine. “Exercise should make you feel relaxed and in control, not increase your stress levels.”
  • Remember your personal fitness goals. “Choose workout types and routines based on your desired outcome, and target those specific areas.”


Want to find the best type of exercise for you? Sanlam Reality Club, Core, Plus and Health members can save as much as 80% on gym fees at Planet Fitness and JustGym to help them on their fitness journey.

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