To have well rounded physical health it is important to do multiple types of exercise. These include cardio strengthening, weight training and stretching. Each type of exercise contributes to health in different areas of the body, and when all performed create a well-rounded exercise program.
Cardiovascular Exercise (Cardio)
Recommendations: Adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week. Exercise recommendations can be met through 30-60 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise (five days per week) or 20-60 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise (three days per week). Moderate-intensity means you are working hard enough to raise your heart rate. One easy way to tell if it is moderate- intensity is if you can still talk while exercising but not sing. Some examples of moderate-intensity aerobic activity is walking fast or pushing a lawn mower. Examples of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity would be swimming laps, playing basketball, running, or playing singles tennis.
It is important to note, that even those who don’t meet these recommendations will still benefit from some activity. Also, it is okay to break up the requirements of cardio exercise to at least ten minute increments to accumulate the desired amount of exercise.
Benefits of Cardiovascular Exercise:
- Improves overall health but especially heart health and decreases risk for heart disease
- Lowers blood pressure, cholesterol, and LDLs
- Strengthens lungs and blood flow
- Increases quality of sleep
- Reduction in back pain
- Aids in weight loss
- Increases life expectancy with regular cardiovascular exercise
- Physical exercise can increase levels of the brain's "feel good" chemical called serotonin, which can help a person feel happier and less depressed
Resistance Exercise (Weight Training)
Recommendations: Train each major muscle group (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms) two or three days each week for 20 minutes. It is best to wait at least 48 hours between resistance training sessions.
Benefits of Resistance Exercise:
- Protects muscle mass and bone health.
- After puberty, whether you are a man or a woman, you begin to lose about 1 percent of your bone and muscle strength every year.
- Improves bone density and decreases risk for osteoporosis
- Improves posture
- Prevents disease
- More muscle built contributes to a higher metabolism
Flexibility Exercise (Stretching)
Recommendations: Adults should do flexibility exercises at least two or three days each week for 10-30 minutes. Studies have shown that holding a stretch for 30 seconds to the point of tightness is most effective, and holding a stretch for more than that will not likely exceed original benefits. Flexibility exercise is most effective if the muscle is already warm so it is best to do them after cardio or resistance exercises.
- Improves range of motion which is lost as we age
- Improves balance and also contributes to muscular strength
- Reduces muscle soreness
- Improves blood circulation
- Increases production of synovial fluid which is a lubricant for your joints
*These recommendations came from the ACSM and CDC.