Exercise isn’t just about practising one exercise over and over and expecting results. You must regularly engage in four types of exercise to improve your wellbeing, flexibility, balance, strength and endurance. Each type of exercise carries its benefits, and doing one can boost your ability to do the rest. This level of variety also prevents boredom and reduces your risk of injury. Botany from Movement 101 has various activities for people of all ages, tailored to meet all your fitness needs. Below is an in-depth discussion of each type of exercise and its significance:
Endurance Physical Activities
Endurance exercises are meant to increase your heart rate and breathing, like in aerobics. These exercises can help you stay healthy, attain your fitness goals and perform everyday tasks with ease. Endurance exercises boost the health of your lungs, heart and circulatory system and prevent or delay common diseases such as heart disease, breast and colon cancers and diabetes.
The following physical activities help build your endurance:
- Playing basketball or tennis
- Climbing hills or stairs
- Raking, mowing and other yardwork
- Jogging or brisk walking
Even though the goal is to challenge yourself with at least 2 hours of endurance exercises each week, you must adhere to the safety tips below:
- Use safety equipment such as a helmet when cycling to prevent injuries
- Layer your clothing, so it’s easier to add or remove some clothes as it gets hotter or colder
- Exercise in an area you are familiar with, especially if you are going outdoors
- Remember to hydrate whenever you perform exercises that make you sweat
- Stop if you experience a heartburn-like feeling, chest pressure or pain or dizziness
- Warm up and unwind with light walking activities before and after your endurance exercises
Muscular strength allows you to remain independent and makes it easier to perform everyday activities such as carrying groceries, climbing the stairs or getting up from your chair. Maintaining your muscle strength also improves your balance, making it harder to fall and sustain injuries. Your chances of falling are also significantly lower if you have strong leg and hip muscles.
Most people rely on weights for strength training. If you choose to follow that route, we recommend starting with light weights and adding more as you gradually improve your resistance. You can also use a lightweight band or forego one altogether until you feel ready to use one. Also, you should perform exercises targeting all major muscle groups at least twice weekly without exercising the same muscle group twice in a row.
Some common types of strength exercises include:
- Exercising with a resistance band
- Lifting your body weight
- Wall pushups
- Arm curls
- Carrying groceries
- Weight lifting
Below are some safety tips to remember during strength exercises:
- Discuss any new exercises with your doctor before adding them to your routine
- Avoid holding your breath during strength training activities and breathe freely
- Exhale as you push or lift and inhale as you relax
These exercises prevent falls, especially in older adults.You can improve balance with lower body exercises intended to strengthen your muscles. Some balance exercises include:
- Standing while in a seated position
- Standing on one foot
- Tai Chi, a meditation technique that involves moving your body in certain directions as you breathe deeply
- Doing the balance walk
Since balance exercises can prove to be quite challenging at first, we recommend having a strong chair or someone to support you if you need assistance.
You can improve your body flexibility by stretching. It allows you to move more freely, making it easy to look over your shoulder or bend to tie your shoes. There are various types of flexibility exercises that target the back, back of the leg, ankle, inner thigh and other motion-related body parts. However, you may end up straining an already problematic body part, resulting in inflammation, injury or severe pain. That is why you must adhere to the following safety tips:
- Consult your doctor if you have reservations about any type of exercise
- Breathe as normally as possible during your stretches and avoid holding your breath
- Stretch moderately; it should not hurt
- Stretching is best done after strength or endurance exercises
- You should warm your muscles before any flexibility exercises
It is crucial to note that although the above body movement activities are highly beneficial, they may take a little getting used to depending on your current state of health. That is why we recommend talking to an experienced physio instead of performing random exercises.