There are three categories of exercise that, when combined, support your fittest, strongest self.
Any exercise is good exercise. Our bodies are designed to move, and when we don’t move them regularly, we do ourselves a disservice. Starting a regular exercise program is one of the best things you can do for your health, both in the short and long-term. Getting started is as easy as walking around the block a few times.
As you progress, however, you’ll want to increase the intensity and duration of your workouts. And, you’ll want to vary them so as to strengthen multiple muscle systems, tone your muscles, increases your flexibility, mobility, and cardiovascular endurance. This may sound like a lot, but there are really only three types of exercising you need to focus on in order to achieve these things.
Aerobic exercise includes activities like walking, running, swimming, cycling––any activity that gets you breathing heavily and gets your heart pumping. Aerobic activity is otherwise known as cardio, because getting your heart pumping faster a few times a week is known to improve factors like resting heart rate, blood pressure, and other cardiovascular metrics. There is no need to overdo it; instead, start slow and work your way up in intensity and duration.
Strength training involves anything that puts resistance on your muscles. It can be as easy as doing squats or lifting dumbbells. It is important to practice good form with strength training or any type of lifting so as not to injure yourself, and it is important to give yourself time to recover. In other words, you do not need to perform strength training exercises on the same groups of muscles two days in a row. Strength training is especially important as we age, but it is important for all ages; of course, strength training increases muscle size and tone, but it is also known to strengthen bones, helping them maintain their density as we age.
Stretching focuses on flexibility and mobility. Flexibility is the ability of muscles to stretch while mobility refers to the range of motion of joints. Stretching is important, because it can help prevent injuries that might be inevitable otherwise. Incorporating a simple stretching regimen will not only help prevent injuries, but it can improve balance, coordination, and help you maintain full range of motion as you age.