As a general rule, we should always aim to move more and sit less throughout the day. There is plenty of evidence showing that exercising regularly benefits our health in many ways. But, where should you start if you’ve never had an exercise routine? Let us tell you about the main types of exercise and how they can help you live a longer and better life.
Aerobic exercise is any physical activity that raises your heart rate for a sustained period of time. It is commonly referred to as “cardio” because of its benefits to the cardiovascular system. You don’t need to be an athlete to engage in aerobic activities. Many fun activities can be considered aerobic if we do them at a moderate to vigorous intensity for an extended period of time. For example, all the following activities can be considered aerobic exercise:
- Brisk walking
- Riding a bicycle
- Playing basketball
You should try to do at least 150 minutes of aerobic activity per week. For example, you could do 30 minutes of activity a day, 5 days a week, with 2 rest days. You can start slowly and gradually increase the time and intensity if you feel comfortable.
Some of the benefits of regular aerobic exercise include:
- Increases your stamina
- Helps you maintain a healthy weight when combined with a proper diet
- Reduces the risk of chronic illnesses, such as diabetes and hypertension
- Helps strengthen your heart and cardiovascular system
- Reduces stress levels
This is the second main type of exercise. It is designed to help us strengthen our muscles. To target all the major muscle groups in your body, we recommend doing this type of exercise at least twice a week. Some types of strength training exercises include:
- Lifting weights
- Exercises that use your own body weight, such as push-ups and sit-ups
- Resistance band exercises
- Some types of yoga
A good starting point is to do 1 or 2 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions for each muscle group. You can plan your workouts accordingly, targeting different muscle groups on different days. The idea is to gradually increase the weight or the number of repetitions, and your goal should be to feel like you can’t do many more repetitions at the end of your last set.
Aside from the benefits of aerobic activities, strength training is very important for maintaining our muscle mass, balance, and flexibility as we age.
Consult your Healthcare Provider
Before starting any exercise routine, discuss it with your healthcare provider. This is the best way to get advice on the type of exercise and intensity level appropriate for your age, skill level, and physical condition.