What is the right type of exercise for me?
Working out does more than keep you looking great. It helps maintain a healthy vasculature, challenges organs to work more efficiently, and keeps your blood flowing. There are many different types of exercise. By choosing the right workout you can target different groups of muscles and organs. This can help you lose weight, gain muscle, or stay healthy depending on your goals. Choosing the right exercise is the first step to reaching your fitness goals.
What is aerobic exercise?
Aerobic exercise is anything that focuses on sustained exertion of the heart and lungs (eg. running, biking, swimming). When focusing on heart health it is important not to forget aerobic exercises. Prolonged aerobic exercise can help the heart get stronger and beat more efficiently. By maintaining a robust heart and vasculature it can also support healthy blood pressure. Burning fat is released as carbon dioxide in your breath, and aerobic exercise is one of the fastest ways to lose weight.
A commonly recognised aerobic regimen is moderate-intensity for 30 minutes at least 5 times per week, or alternately vigorous-intensity for 20 minutes and 5 times per week.
What are resistance exercises?
Resistance exercise focuses on building muscle strength and mass by working against resistance (eg. weights, resistance bands, squats). By focussing on certain muscle groups you can cause them to respond by growing bigger and stronger. This is useful even if you aren’t interested in becoming a bodybuilder. Larger muscles burn energy even when you are not using them. This is why including some weights in your routine can help maintain a healthy body weight. Resistance also motivates bones to respond to the extra stress. This can increase bone density and reduce the risk of fractures later in life. Beginning slow and seeking expert advice is especially valuable during resistance exercise because poor technique and too much weight can cause real damage.
What about sports?
Other types of exercise like yoga, football, or rock climbing do not focus on a single system. They bring a mix of aerobic and resistance training. Not all sports are equal though. Playing a round of golf with a golf cart will use significantly less energy than a game of water polo. When thinking about the right sport for you consider the level of activity involved and how that will work with your fitness goals. Some sports are also more dangerous than others. Remember that wearing the proper equipment doesn’t just keep you safe, it helps you stay active and enjoying what you do. By helping the whole body keep fit and being fun sports are a great long term solution for staying healthy.
Regardless of the type of exercise you choose, staying active will help improve blood flow and decrease your risk of heart disease. While there are an infinite number of possible exercise routines, it is important to choose one that you can maintain in the long term. Not working out enough will have little effect and pushing yourself too hard can lead to debilitating injury. Speaking with a healthcare professional can help you decide on the right regimen for you.
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