Variety: The Spice of Life

When it comes to exercise there is not one way to exercise that works for everyone.  Some people love to swim, some love to run, some love to do yoga and some love to do really hard challenging workouts where they are pushed to the max.  There are people that love group exercise classes, some that love to be in a gym and some that use exercise in isolation to reboot mentally.  Whatever you choose, consider the health benefits of your favorite exercises.

Exercise such as running, swimming, biking or hiking that are performed for 2 minutes to whatever extended period of time are considered aerobic in nature.  Your muscles require oxygen to perform these for an extended period of time.  Such exercises elevate your heart rate usually at a steady rate.  Benefits such as an increase in heart and lung strength, improve endurance, burn calories to help lose weight, increase metabolism and various bodily processes, help build muscle, good mental health, increase blood flow to muscles and lowering resting heart rate are great reasons to perform aerobic type exercises.

Anaerobic conditioning is an excellent way to build muscle strength and build muscle.  Short duration, high intensity exercise that is done without oxygen uses more calories while exercising but even better, it burns calories when at rest following the exercise as well.  Sprints or exercise done at a high intensity for less than 2 minutes is a way in which to control weight, male bones and joints stronger, can boost vo2 max (more oxygen available) and can lower blood sugar. Overall, participants report having more overall energy as a result of including anaerobic activities into an exercise plan.

Plyometrics refer to explosive movements that are done with bodyweight or very light loads.  Jumping movements enhance the power in one’s legs.  Exercises such as squat jumps, box jumps or even jumping over a cone side to side are excellent options.  Plyometrics are good for challenging fast twitch muscle fibers, coordination and agility but a bonus...it slows down aging.  

Weight training is another great way to build muscle strength.  In addition, it increases bone density.  Weight lifting helps make carrying out life’s daily activities easier.  When a person increases strength it’s easier to lift, move and carry objects.  Exercises such as leg press, seated rows, push ups, pull ups lunges are great exercises that can be done on either  machine or by adding hand weights for extra resistance.  

Balance and flexibility are important components to all exercise routines.  Balance helps prevent falls.  It is also important to be able to stabilize the body and control its movements. Balance makes movement more easier and more efficient.  Joga is a great exercise that challenges one’s balance and flexibility.  Flexibility keeps the body stretched out, muscles long, and helps stay limber with good range of motion.  The more mobile and stable your body is the more likely one is to prevent injury as well.  

A well balanced exercise program is recommended.  Balance your exercise program with multiple components of fitness to provide more health benefits.  Aerobic conditioning, anaerobic conditioning, plyometrics, weight training, balance, flexibility are only a few of the various components that you can use for your personal program.  Good health is the priority when designing an exercise routine.