Exercise and physical activity fall into four basic categories. The categories include: endurance, strength, balance and flexibility. Each type of exercise is different and they all have different benefits. Mixing up your routine helps to reduce boredom and risk of injury. Learn more about the four types of exercise below.
- Endurance – These are aerobic activities that increase your breathing and heart rate. They keep your heart, lungs and circulatory system healthy. Participating in endurance activities can delay or prevent health conditions like diabetes, breast and colon cancer and heart disease. Types of endurance activities include: brisk walking or jogging, yard work (mowing, raking, digging), swimming, dancing, biking, playing tennis and playing basketball. You should build up to at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity endurance activities on most, if not all, days of the week. If you’re not exercising now, start with a ten minute session and work your way up to 30+ minutes.
- Strength – These exercises make your muscles stronger. Small increases in strength can make a big difference in your ability to stay independent. It will make climbing stairs and carrying groceries a lot easier. Strength exercises increase your balance and help tone your muscle. You will also gain muscle mass, which burns calories faster than fat mass. Build up to at least 30 minutes of strength training on all of your muscle groups two or more days per week. Try to avoid exercising the same muscle group back to back.
- Balance – Each year, more than 1.6 million older Americans go to the emergency room because of fall-related injuries. Balance exercises can help prevent falls and avoid the disability that may result from falling. Balance exercises can be done anywhere, anytime and as often as you’d like. For safety, use a chair or wall for support.
- Flexibility – Flexibility, or stretching exercises, give you more freedom of movement for your physical activities. Stretching increases the range of motion of your muscles. This makes everyday activities easier, such as getting dressed and reaching objects on a shelf. Stretching exercises can improve your flexibility, but they will not improve your strength or endurance. Do each stretching exercise 3 to 5 times at each session. Slowly and smoothly stretch into the desired position, as far as possible without pain. Hold the stretch for 10 to 30 seconds. Relax, breathe, then repeat, trying to stretch farther.
To learn more about exercise and physical activity, register for a free learning center class. All of our courses are free to the entire community. You do not have to be a patient or a resident of The Villages to attend, so please remember to bring a friend.