Here we are in a new year! Many people set resolutions at this time of year. And many of these resolutions are around exercising more. I know that I see a bump in activity at the gym and yoga studio every January.
I think it is important to have a well-rounded exercise routine. What does that mean? To me, it means including activities that fall into the various “types” of exercise categories. The National Institute of Health says there are four types of physical activity.
Aerobic – These activities will increase your heart rate. You can perform aerobic exercises at varying intensity levels: light, moderate, or vigorous. The easiest aerobic exercise you can do is walking. If you are looking for something with less impact, bicycling is a great option.
Muscle strengthening – You may also hear these types of activities referred to as resistance exercise. Often, you will use free weights, resistance bands, or weight machines when you perform activities to strengthen your muscles. However, you can use your own body weight to get in a muscle strengthening workout (think push-ups, sit-ups, wall squats).
Bone strengthening – While activities to strengthen your muscles will also help strengthen your bones, there are other activities you can do to strengthen your bones. For instance, when I run down the mountain after hiking, I am helping to strengthen my bones from the impact my legs receive taking each step. I consider many aerobic and muscle strengthening activities to also be bone strengthening.
Flexibility – What comes to mind when you think about flexibility? Yoga. (Because there are so many types of yoga available, many yoga classes also offer aerobic and/or muscle strengthening benefits.) While it is true that yoga can be a great way to increase and maintain your flexibility, any stretching you do helps with your flexibility. After doing aerobic or muscle strengthening activity, I believe it is important to include some time for stretching.
There are many health benefits from exercise, which will be covered another time. This post is just intended to give you an overview of the various types of exercise as you start the new year and possibly start a new exercise regimen.
Did you make a resolution to exercise more in 2016?