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Althealth

The 4 most important types of exercise

0 8 months ago

Strengthening, stretching, balance, and aerobic exercises will keep you active, mobile, and feeling great.

Exercise is key to good health. But we tend to limit ourselves to one or two types of activity. People do what they enjoy, or what feels the most effective, so some aspects of exercise and fitness may be ignored. In reality, we should all be doing aerobics, stretching, strengthening, and balance exercises. Here, we list what you need to know about each exercise type and offer examples to try, with a doctor’s okay.

1. Aerobic exercise

Aerobic exercise, which speeds up your heart rate and breathing, is important for many body functions. It gives your heart and lungs a workout and increases endurance. If you’re too winded to walk up a flight of stairs, you need to see your doctor for a medical evaluation. If it’s just because you are deconditioned, then you will need more aerobic exercise to help condition your heart and lungs and get enough blood to your muscles to help them work efficiently.

Aerobic exercise also helps relax blood vessel walls, lower blood pressure, burn body fat, lower blood sugar levels, reduce inflammation, and boost mood. Combined with weight loss, it can also lower “bad” LDL cholesterol levels. Over the long term, aerobic exercise reduces your risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, breast and colon cancer, depression, and falls.

Aim for at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity activity. Try brisk walking, swimming, jogging, cycling, dancing, or classes like step aerobics.

Marching in place

A picture containing trouserDescription automatically generatedStarting position: Stand tall with your feet together and arms at your sides.
Movement: Bend your elbows and swing your arms as you lift your knees.
March in a variety of styles:

  • March in place.
  • March four steps forward, and then four steps back.
  • March in place with feet wide apart.
  • Alternate marching feet wide and together (out, out, in, in).

Tips and techniques:

  • Look straight ahead and keep your abs tight.
  • Breathe comfortably, and don’t clench your fists.

Make it easier: March slower and don’t lift your knees as high.
Make it harder: Lift your knees higher, march faster, and really pump your arms.

 

2. Strength training

As we age, we lose muscle mass. Strength training builds it back. Regular strength training will help you feel more confident and capable of daily tasks like carrying groceries, gardening, and lifting heavier objects around the house. Strength training will also help you stand up from a chair, get up off the floor, and go upstairs.

Strengthening your muscles not only makes you stronger, but also stimulates bone growth, lowers blood sugar, assists with weight control, improves balance and posture, and reduces stress and pain in the lower back and joints.

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