It’s a fact that some people hate exercising.
Some people can’t be bothered. Others suffer from pain and think that exercising will only make that pain worse. Some people believe that working out is for people who want to lose weight, and since they’re thin, they don’t need to do it.
But it’s also a fact that as little as 15 minutes of physical activity per day can increase your lifespan by three years.
Research shows that exercise increases life span. People who do moderate exercises every week live longer, while those who live a sedentary lifestyle have an older “biological age.”
Exercise comes in many different forms. And, a lot of people don’t always know which ones to do and which ones to avoid. Should we be running? Swimming? Dancing? Playing team sports?
If you’re unsure which activities you should be doing regularly, keep reading. Here are the three most important types of exercises to work into your weekly routine.
Cardiovascular exercises, often called cardio or aerobic exercises, are endurance exercises.
These are exercises that get your heart pumping and offer several health benefits, like:
- Cardio exercises increase your heart rate so that your heart pumps more oxygen into the muscles.
- They strengthen the heart and lungs and reduce inflammation.
- They lower blood pressure and blood sugar levels while helping to raise good cholesterol levels.
Endurance exercises that increase your heart rate also help the body burn fat. In combination with other forms of exercise and a healthy diet, cardio exercises can help you reach your goal weight.
There are all sorts of cardiovascular exercises that you can do, regardless of your fitness level or level of ability.
Some of our favorites include:
- Running, walking, and even marching in place to get your heart rate up.
- Dancing, biking, and climbing stairs are other excellent options.
- If you love competitive sports, tennis, volleyball, and basketball are all great cardio choices.
- For people with mobility issues, swimming is a safe and effective way to partake in cardio exercises.
Strength Training Exercises
Strength training isn’t just for bodybuilders or people who want to bench press 200 pounds. Strength training exercises are a crucial part of any fitness routine.
Strength training is key to maintaining muscle mass. This is important because with better muscle mass, the more energy and fat your body can burn. Work strength training into your fitness routine, and you can actually lose weight faster.
Strength training also stimulates bone growth and improves balance and posture. These exercises also help to reduce pain in the body and alleviate stress in your joints.
Weight lifting is a crucial component of strength training.
But there are a variety of other exercises in this category you can do as well, including:
- Squats and lunges are superb at strengthening your glutes and quads.
- Overhead presses and bicep curls are perfect for sculpting your arms and shoulders.
- Resistance bands are also effective at targeting different muscles in various areas of the body.
And though many people hate doing them, push-ups should also be a part of your strength training fitness routine. If your arms aren’t strong enough to do real push-ups, start with wall push-ups until you build up enough strength to do the real thing.
Every personal trainer, fitness instructor, and exercise guru has one thing in common:
They all know that you need to stretch your body before doing any form of exercise.
Stretching is essential. It helps to improve flexibility, make the body more limber, and make it easier to do strength training and cardio workouts.
Improved flexibility makes even mundane daily activities, like lifting groceries, easier to do. It makes the muscles healthier and improves muscle tension, which helps to prevent injuries from other forms of activity.
Stretching exercises also help to improve circulation and increase our range of motion.
Take a few minutes each day to stretch your body with arm, knee, and neck rotations by doing the following:
- Stretch your sides, your legs, and your shoulders.
- Twist from side to side to stretch your back and spine.
- Sit on the floor and get in the butterfly position to stretch your hamstrings and hips.
Experts recommend that you spend 60 seconds with each stretching exercise. As your muscles become more flexible, you’ll find that stretches get more manageable and that you can hold them for more extended periods.
BONUS: Balance Exercises
Cardio exercises, strength training exercises, and stretching exercises are a must if you want a fit, healthy body.
But other forms of exercise are equally as important:
If you take health and fitness seriously, incorporate some balance exercises into your weekly routine.
You can improve your balance by:
- Doing tai chi
- Practicing yoga
- Standing on one foot as you lift and hold the other foot off the ground
Tai Chi and yoga don’t just help you improve balance — they have a variety of mental health benefits as well.
Both of these workouts involve meditation and incorporate deep breathing techniques. They help to decrease stress levels, improve your mood, and minimize anxiety and depression.
The better your balance is, the less likely you are to stumble and fall. This is particularly crucial for older adults, as a simple slip and fall can wreak havoc on the body and even cause you to break bones.
Add balance routines into your exercise regimen early in life, and you can carry those workouts well into your senior years.
Exercise is vital for everyone, and it’s never too early or too late to start doing some physical activity. And the younger you start, understandably, the easier it can be.
Don’t wait until you’re feeling aches and pains to start working out. And don’t hold out until you need to lose 30 pounds to hire a trainer or hit the gym.
Yes, exercise is a way to lose weight and create a fitter, leaner, healthier body, but there’s more to it than that. It’s also a way to extend the span of your life!
Adam Marshall is a freelance writer who specializes in all things apartment organization, real estate, and college advice. He currently works with Grove Slippery Rock to help them with their online marketing.