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Exercise... It's NOT One-Size Fits All

We have all heard the benefits of exercise and we have learned about setting SMART goals and the importance of a safe exercise program to prevent injury. (see links below to read our posts on these topics) But how do we ensure that we stick to our exercise program for more than just a few weeks? The best way to stay on the exercise bandwagon is to ENJOY exercise. (No, that isn’t an oxymoron…)

There are many different types of exercise and finding which is best for you is essential in staying with a program. Let’s explore some of the different modes of exercise and benefits of each type.

Aerobic exercise

Aerobic exercise, sometimes referred to as cardiovascular exercise or “cardio” is a type of exercise that increases your heart rate and breathing. Aerobic means “with oxygen”, and refers to a type of exercise that improves the efficiency of the body's cardiovascular system in absorbing and transporting oxygen. These activities usually involve an endurance component versus focus on strength of muscles. The WHO recommends getting 150-300 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise per week for health benefits. Benefits of aerobic exercise are improved function of the heart, circulatory system and the lungs. This can help to prevent heart disease, diabetes and stroke. Aerobic exercise includes activities such as walking, running, cycling, swimming and jumping rope.

Anaerobic exercise

Anaerobic exercise, or “without oxygen”, is a type of exercise that breaks down glucose in the body for energy without use of oxygen. The CDC recommends incorporating at least 2 days of strength training exercises into your routine. Benefits of anaerobic exercise include improved strength and lean body mass, increased calorie burn and bone strength. This type of exercise is usually shorter in duration than aerobic exercise, and often at a higher intensity. Examples of anaerobic exercise includes HIIT workouts (High Intensity Interval Training), weight lifting, plyometric exercises.

High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT

High intensity interval training refers to a period of intense exercise (seconds to minutes long) followed by a period of rest. The periods of exercise can involve resistance from body weight as in push up, bands, weights like dumb bells or kettle bells or machine weights.

Weight Training

Weight training is a type of exercise that involves physically lifting weights to improve muscle size and strength. Weights can be in the form of bars and plates, dumb bells or kettle bells. You can even use your own body weight as resistance with weight training.

Plyometric exercises

Plyometric exercises are focused on improving strength and power. This type of training typically involves short intervals of maximal exertion. These exercises are described as explosive in nature. Examples are box jumps, hopping and skipping.

Flexibility exercise

Activities that focus on improved joint range of motion and muscle length are flexibility exercises. Flexibility exercises are good to incorporate into your routine as well. Ensuring that you have proper joint range of motion and muscle length can decrease your risk of injury during exercise. Types of exercises that focus on flexibility can be static and dynamic stretching and certain types of yoga.

Combination Exercises

There are also many activities and modes of exercise that are a combination of these different types of exercises. Pilates is a type of exercise that focuses on strength, flexibility and postural endurance. Recreational and competitive sports are also a combination of exercise modes. It can require aerobic exercise and endurance for running a race, or a swimming competition. Playing a game of tennis can involve aerobic and plyometric exercise to keep up with the pace of the game and deliver game winning shots. A round of golf can require aerobic exercise in walking the course, flexibility exercise to effectively swing a club and plyometric movements to drive the green.

As you can see there are many options to get your daily dose of exercise all while having fun too! Mixing it up by varying your workouts, considered cross training, is a good way to keep from getting bored with a certain type of exercise. Cross training can also challenge your body in different ways and can help prevent overuse injuries that can be a result of focusing on a single sport or activity.

Have exercise questions? Give us a call TODAY at Dynamic Physical Therapy and Wellness for a guide to injury prevention or how to safely start or advance your exercise program. We will help you Perform Better, Live Better, Get Better!

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