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If you had to do just one exercise for the rest of your life, which would you choose?

The Luscious Bellydance Workout for Beginners
The Luscious Bellydance Workout for Beginners

The NYTimes recently posed the question, WHAT’S THE SINGLE BEST EXERCISE?

The writers spoke with physicians, physiologists, and even a professor of sport and exercise science (and also a past Olympian) for their opinions, and they were able to come to a single conclusion.

  • Swimming, especially intense strokes like the butterfly, offers a powerful workout and burns lots of calories (hi, Michael Phelps!), but it requires too much effort and facility needs to make it a worthwhile effort.
  • The “burpee”, otherwise known as a squat thrust, is a great endurance-builder, but not something that the average person would be able to maintain an interest in
  • Walking gets high marks all around, but is generally rather boring compared to more active forms of exercise
  • High intensity interval training on a stationary bike has proven to provide a great aerobic benefit, but doesn’t lend itself to building muscle.

So after looking at all the research and notes they took, the writers decided that there was one form of exercise that took the best elements of the above and combined them:  climbing up stairs.

Which means that all those StairMasters – and to some extent, elliptical machines – are still the best options to use at the gym since they do an adequate job of mimicking the act of climbing those 100 stories.