4 Types of Exercise
Be sure you get all four types of exercise regularly: endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility. Most people tend to focus on one activity or type of exercise and think they’re doing enough. Doing them all will give you more benefits than one alone. Mixing your activity up also helps to reduce boredom and reduces your risk of injury.
Each type is described below. Some activities will into more than one category. For example, many endurance activities also build strength. Strength exercises also help improve balance.
Endurance, or aerobic, activities increase your breathing and heart rate. They keep your heart, lungs, and circulatory system healthy and improve your overall fitness. As a result, they delay or prevent many diseases that are common in older adults such as diabetes and heart disease. Building your endurance makes it easier to carry out many of your everyday activities.
• Brisk walking, jogging, or running
• Yard work (mowing, raking, digging)
• Climbing stairs or hills
• Playing tennis
• Playing basketball
Strength exercises make your muscles stronger. Even small increases in strength can make a big difference in your ability to perform daily activities without risk of injury, such as carrying heavy groceries. Another benefit is keeping your bones strong, decreasing the risk of osteoporosis. These exercises also are called “strength training” or “resistance training.”
• Lifting weights
• Using a resistance band
Balance exercises help prevent falls, a common problem in older adults. Many lower-body strength exercises also will improve your balance.
• Standing on one foot
• Heel-to-toe walk
• Tai Chi
Flexibility exercises stretch your muscles and can help your body stay limber. Being flexible gives you more freedom of movement for other exercises as well as for your everyday activities.
• Shoulder and upper arm stretch
• Low back and thigh stretches
• Calf stretch
So mix up your activities. Remember exercise is cumulative. It doesn’t have to be done all at once. Doing 10 minute intervals a few times a day can be just as good as 30 to 60 minutes all at once.