After about a three year hiatus, I’ve gotten back into the pool. Now, for a while after I left a gym job that got me a membership as one of the perks, I turned to walking as my primary exercise.
This isn’t going to be some rant about the superiority of any particular exercise. In reality, there’s no such thing, no matter how much the steroid monkeys throw poorly understood research articles at each other.
Unless you are a professional or world-class competitive athlete, the answer for the perfect exercise is really is simple. It’s the one you can do that you’ll choose to do on some pretty regular basis.
Sure, sure you might make a hobby out of your chosen activity. To keep up interest, you might measure progress or learn about the activity. It’s no coincidence that the physical activities I have loved best are extremely skill and form based. But that sort of thing doesn’t matter as much as you think. At a certain age, you’re only going to progress so far, and you’re only going to choose to devote a specific amount of time to being active (and by the way, half an hour a day and you’re good. That hour a day stuff is about weight loss without diet change, not cardiovascular fitness).
The person who goes for a half hour walk every day, doesn’t measure distance or make a hobby out of performance, but Just Does It over a long period of time is actually in a better exercise position than the person who goes hammer and tongs at working out every few months for a few weeks, but then gets sick of it.
Heroic effort might be more interesting while you’re doing it, but I challenge anyone who does than (*looks sternly in the mirror*) to measure how that holds up against consistency.