When it comes to exercise, more sweat doesn’t always mean better results. High-intensity workouts are often touted for their health and weight-loss benefits, but low-intensity workouts have their perks, too.
While it is true that regular physical activity has many benefits such as better sleep, feeling happier and preventing various conditions, the amount that you sweat isn’t an accurate indicator of a good workout. Sweating is simply the cooling process your body goes through to help you maintain a steady body temperature.
But despite the intensity level, finding time to work out on a consistent basis is hard. The key is getting over the mental hurdle of not having time to go to the gym and start with finding a workout that works best for you.
Swimming can be a relaxing way to work your whole body with little impact on your joints. It's perfect for people with significant amounts of weight to lose or individuals with injuries or arthritis. Plus, even if you do sweat, you don’t feel it.
Based on dance, yoga, gymnastics and calisthenics, Pilates is designed to strengthen the core and improve posture. This form of exercise involves little-to-no cardio work, but builds on moves that target the abs, back and overall core strength.
The great thing about walking is that it doesn’t require any special skills, gym membership or expensive equipment. It doesn't really matter where you are as long as you get moving. Walking strengthens your bones and muscles and improves your mood, as well as your balance and coordination.
It doesn't have to take a lot of time or a lot or perspiration to get your lift on. You can get a full-body strength workout using only resistance bands. And with quick, 30-second breaks between moves to keep your heart rate down, it’s a no-sweat way to work out.
This gentle, meditative activity is rooted in martial arts and can be done without breaking a sweat. Mind-body practices like tai chi help control weight, reduce blood pressure, ease stress and improve sleep.
Get your steps in and your living room spotless at the same time. It might not seem like much, but the more non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) activities you incorporate into your day, the easier it is to stay in shape.
Other examples of getting more NEAT activities include taking the stairs, walking to the water cooler, doing yardwork or marching in place at your child's soccer game.
Similar to tai chi and Pilates, yoga is another mind-body exercise that is perfect for those who like to move without getting sweaty. A 155-pound person can burn about 298 calories during a one-hour yoga class.
For more health and fitness tips, visit QualChoice.com.
Dr. Lubna Maruf, M.D., is the medical director at QualChoice Health Insurance in Little Rock.