To help you avoid mismatch, here’s a brief rundown of the physical demands of selected exercises.
This exercise requires high energy output, lots of stamina and a physique free of weaknesses in the knees or spine. And because of its repetitive nature, it’s not suited for people who want plenty of variety in their workouts. Serious long-distance running for the aspiring athlete demands good heart/lung power and an ectomorphic (thin and tall) frame with low body weight for height.
This is a true “soft exercise” that puts a minimum of stress on muscles and joints. People with excellent heart/lung power, well-developed upper body muscles and a tall, lean frame are naturals at competitive swimming. But if you like long, slow “no-sweat” workouts, swimming is for you.
This is soft exercise, too, and perfectly suited for those who want to ease into fitness. It’s ideal for large people who want to avoid workouts that put extra strain on their feet and joints. Competitive cycling, on the other had, demands good lung performance and an average frame with a narrow front to present to the wind.
Like running, basketball requires a lot of energy and plenty of endurance; it also demands intense concentration, good hand and eye coordination and a moderate agility.
Experts have hailed walking as the perfect soft exercise-aerobically demanding yet easy on the joints, muscles and heart. To derive physical benefits from it, you need only walk slightly faster than your normal pace, though not so fast that you can’t carry on a conversation. Even people with back problems, people with weak joints and people who are overweight can safely walk for fitness.