No one questions the efficacy of exercises to boost physical and mental well-being. However, what remains a real challenge for many people is developing an exercise routine they’ll stick with! This occurs mainly because most people do not have the patience to continue till they start noticing the results they want – whether that’s losing weight, improving sleep, or easing stress. But at its core, it’s because, to them, exercising is simply another chore. And as expected, we love to evade chores if we can get away with them.
That’s why the key to a successful workout routine is to make it fun. This can be achieved by having a more robust exercise plan that includes a mix of aerobic training, strength training, flexibility exercise, and balance exercise. This spiced-up plan will also enable you to attain the results you want more efficiently.
Aerobic exercises are activities that work your cardiovascular system. They get your heart rate up, making your blood pump faster. Aerobic exercise is commonly referred to as cardio. Common examples of aerobic exercises include:
- Brisk walking
- Jogging or running
- Playing sports like soccer or basketball.
Health benefits of cardio
- Cardio improves the overall health of your circulatory system. It also strengthens your heart to pump blood more efficiently.
- Reduces risk of cardiovascular diseases like stroke, heart attack, and hypertension
- Lowers blood pressure and improves blood-fat levels
- Lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes
- Reduces the risk of 13 types of cancers.
How much cardio do you need?
According to a guideline from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), adults should engage in a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activities like brisk walking per week. For best results, experts recommend that the time be broken down to 30 minutes per day for five days every week.
Strength exercises are aimed at making your muscles work harder than usual. This invariably helps to improve muscle strength, power, size, and endurance. Such activities involve working your muscles against resistance.
Common examples include:
- Weight lifting
- Climbing stairs
- Heavy gardening, such as digging and shoveling
Health benefits of strength training
- Increase lean muscle mass
- Helps in weight loss because lean muscles burn more calories.
- Helps to increase flexibility and balance, thereby reducing the risks of falls and injuries in older people
- Increases bone density and reduces the risk of fractures
How much strength training do you need?
Aim for two to three days per week of strength training. You should try to incorporate full-body workouts that focus on compound exercises like squats with a shoulder press, as well as pushups and plank with a one-arm row.
Flexibility exercises are activities that stretch your muscles and can help your body stay flexible. Being flexible gives you more freedom of movement in your day-to-day life, as well as for other exercise routines.
There are primarily two types of flexibility exercises: static stretching and dynamic stretching. In static stretching, you stretch your muscles without moving. Examples include:
- Shoulder stretch
- Side bends
- Hamstring stretch
Dynamic stretching, on the other hand, combines stretching with movements. Common examples include:
- High steps
- Ankle stretch
- Arm swings
- Arm circles
Benefits of Flexibility Training
- Improves flexibility, which can be important for everyday life.
- Reduces your risk of injuries
- Reduces lactic acid in the muscles.
How much flexibility exercise do you need?
Stretching should be included before and after your normal workout routine. Experts recommend that you do dynamic stretching as part of your warm-up before a workout. You should then do a static stretch at the end of your routine. According to the National Institutes of Health, you should hold each static stretch for about 10 to 30 seconds.
Balance exercises are activities that improve your ability to control and stabilize your body position. They help strengthen the muscles that keep you upright, including your legs and cores.
Common examples include:
- Standing on one foot
- Tai chi
- Walking heel to toe
- Using a balance board or stability ball
Benefits of Balance Exercises
- Lowers your risks of knee and ankle injuries
- Lowers your risk of falls
- Improves overall body coordination
- Improves your reaction time
- Better proprioception as you’re more aware of how your limbs are oriented in space.
How much balance exercise do you need?
Balance exercises should be added to your routine, and there’s no limit to how often you can do them. But to improve your balance, doing three to six balance training sessions per week for 11 to 12 weeks should be sufficient. Four exercises per session should be okay.
While the importance of exercises cannot be overemphasized, the key to an effective and fun fitness plan is to incorporate the four main types of exercises.
Please reach out to us here if you have any other questions or concerns.