When thinking about getting in shape, most people tend to go with the same familiar workouts they’ve done in the past. But there are four important types of exercise we should include in our lives as each one provides different health benefits.
Aerobic exercise speeds up your heart rate and breathing as your heart and lungs get a workout. It’s great for burning fat and building endurance. Brisk walking, swimming, dancing and aerobic classes are some great examples.
As we grow older, we lose muscle mass. Strength training is way for us retain what we have and build more back. Not only will it make your muscles stronger, but it can also stimulate bone growth, lower blood sugar, and reduce stress and pain in the lower back.
Stretching isn’t typically thought of as an exercise category. However, aging leads to a loss of flexibility in the muscles and tendons. Routine stretching makes your muscles longer and more flexible, increasing your range of motion and reducing your chance of injury or developing pain from everyday tasks.
The last exercise is balance which is especially important as we age. It helps you feel steadier on your feet and can prevent falls. Classes like tai chi or yoga are excellent examples, but even doing simple exercises like standing on one foot or walking heel to toe with your eyes opened or closed can help build your balance.
When you exercise, try to include something from each of these as they work together to reduce your risk injuries and boredom. As always, I have my prescriptions:
- When doing stretching exercises, think of working all the muscles in your body. Not just your arms and legs, but also your neck, shoulders, and back.
- You don’t need a bunch of dumbbells to build strength. Exercises like squats, push-ups, and lunges are ways to build muscle that don’t require a gym membership.
- Walking is a great exercise. It’s simple to do and doesn’t require complex scheduling to fit it into your daily life.
- Aside from building physical strength, exercise improves your mood. Physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals that can leave you feeling happier and more relaxed.
No matter what your age or physical ability, getting different types of regular exercise into your life will help you stay mobile. You’ll feel better, have more energy and add years to your life.