When it comes to exercise, one size doesn’t fit all. The exercise you choose is influenced by your health, lifestyle, work hours, responsibilities and more. While we’ve all come to understand how important it is to exercise, having a strong sense of what your choices are, is helpful. Here are the basics on the 4 types:
Endurance: Walking, jogging, yard work and dancing, are all considered endurance, or aerobic, exercises. They have a positive impact on your heart, lungs and circulatory system. Not only do they improve your cardiovascular system and reduce your risk of many diseases, they also help you build stamina.
Strength: Strength training makes your muscles stronger and help you stay independent. Strength exercises like lifting weights, using resistance bands, and doing isometric exercises (where muscles are held in place with minimal movement) can make quite a difference in your ability to do things like carry groceries, lift up a child, and other such everyday activities.
Balance: Many lower-body strength exercises that are a part of balance training can make a world of difference in the quality of life for seniors. Exercises like, standing on one foot, doing a heel-to-toe walk, and Tai Chi, strengthen the lower body and help to prevent falls.
Flexibility: Being flexible will naturally give you more freedom in your movement and the benefits are obvious when it comes to everyday activities like getting dressed and driving. Flexibility exercises intentionally stretch your muscles and help your body stay limber. Yoga is a great flexibility exercise along with doing things like calf-stretches and shoulder and upper-arm stretches.
When you think about these exercises and what works best for you, it is helpful to contemplate ways that you can incorporate all 4 types of exercise into your life. Doing just one exercise, such as focusing only on weight-lifting for strength, can help you get stronger, but reduce your flexibility. Walking without stretching can lead to muscle injuries.
While we encourage you to exercise, we also encourage you to mix it up. Remember that physical therapy isn’t just for rehabilitating from an injury. We set up exercise programs regularly for patients who are of all different ages with many different goals. Exercise is a key component to injury prevention and optimal performance.
When you choose, choose wisely and know that we are here to help you, too.