Minimum Sufficient Exercise

Caveat, while I am a Dr. I’m not the medical kind… so please consult a real doctor before making any changes to your exercise levels etc.

When it comes to medical interventions we typically only want the minimum sufficient dose (as there are typically side effects associate with any drugs). But when it comes to exercise we often take things to an extreme; whereas a more limited but sufficiently intense set of activities may not just achieve the same goals (of fitness, strength etc) but actually have a better outcome.

The particular activities will have to be tailored to suit yourself. I do a combination of yoga and martial arts conditioning exercises (which don’t require equipment), cardio (on a cross training machine) and the nearly always unrealised aspiration to do a little weight training with a set of fairly challenging, for me, dumbells. Here are a few general ideas:

  • Try to build it into your regular life and not depend on fancy equipment, pleasant weather or your own early morning enthusiasm. Something which can be done at home (or at least on the way to or from work or similar) is a lot more likely to be sustainable.
  • Set an easy minimum (see the section about this!)
  • If you are getting injured repeatedly (and this seems to happen to lots of regular gym goers, weights people and cross fitters) you are probably doing something wrong.
  • Focus on strength and balance. You will probably get fitness and flexibility indirectly, and perhaps more effectively than if you were to focus on these.