The 4 types of exercise and why you need them all!
Exercise has always been a big part of my life. I’m one of those people that actually really enjoys it and I genuinely feel the benefit of it both physically and mentally. Recently, I had a break from doing structured exercise because I reached a bit of a plateau and thought I needed a breather. But what I realised was, even just doing a little bit is way better than doing nothing at all. I actually very quickly became a little sluggish, unhappy and unmotivated! Not what I wanted! There are 4 types of exercise that are important for our general wellbeing, all just as important as the other. So what are they? And how much of each should you get?
Don’t worry it’s not time to get your spandex out and go all Judi Sheppard Missett (if you haven’t heard of her, google it, she is hilarious!) to do this type of exercise. It’s an exercise that gets your heart rate up, makes you breathe heavier and therefore makes you take in more oxygen. As your heart beats faster, it delivers more oxygen-filled blood to your muscles. Things like running, swimming, cycling and dancing are all types of aerobic exercise. You can find some exercise ideas on our MOVE page. It’s recommended that we do 30 minutes each day. If you do these things at a higher intensity, you will move into the anaerobic zone.
This type of exercise works our muscles by using resistance. It increases lean muscle mass which raises our metabolic rate so we burn more energy while at rest. Our bodies are encouraged to use glucose as the form of energy so it can also reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes. It doesn’t have to involve weights, you can use your own body weight as the resistance. It’s best to do this type of exercise 2 to 3 times per week and include a 5 minute warm up and cool down to prevent injury.
Balance is so important for us to control our bodies, particularly as we get older. Things like Yoga and Tai Chi are great for this and they have the added bonus of bringing our focus back to our breath. Other ways you can incorporate balance exercises into your workout is by standing on one leg while doing a squat, or while doing an arm stretch. You can even stand on one foot while you’re brushing your teeth! Whatever works.
Stretching our muscles is paramount to improve our flexibility and prevent injury. It gives us more freedom of movement while doing other types of exercise too. It’s best to stretch once your muscles are already warm, so after a workout is better than before. Take it slow and hold each stretch for at least 10 seconds. Take this time to come back to your body. Yoga is awesome for this too.
So next time you’re setting up your workout schedule for the week ahead, think about each of the 4 types of exercise and how you can incorporate them all. It’ll help to maximise your fitness and prevent injury too. Take a look at our MOVE page for some inspiration!