During a casual conversation with your friends at a party or colleagues in the office, catchphrases like “get your cardio up”, “slim and trim”, “hit the treadmill” undeniably pop up while discussing fitness. Of course, preserving heart functions and enhancing cardiac muscle strength through aerobic activities like running, jogging, treadmill workouts is key, to improve energy metabolism, expand lung capacity and maintain healthy body weight.
However, there exist not just one, but four fundamental forms of exercise – aerobic, strength, flexibility and balance, all of which are equally important to incorporate into your daily physical activity schedule. Not only does adopting a mixed training routine make working out less boring and more versatile, but it also helps you reinforce core muscle groups, fortify bones and joints, as well as prevent chronic illnesses and age with grace. Plus the advantages of regular physical activity for overall wellbeing are immense.
According to doctors, fitness coaches and healthcare experts worldwide, engaging in a mere 30 minutes of physical activity daily significantly averts the risk of acquiring chronic diseases later on in life, such as diabetes, hypertension, Alzheimer’s, dementia and heart attacks. Moreover, exercising every day tremendously improves lung functions and breathing, thereby lowering the occurrence of respiratory illnesses like asthma, COPD, bronchitis. A brisk walk in the neighbourhood, high-intensity workouts like Tabata training or even simple stretches right at home aid in maintaining healthy body weight by burning extra calories, preventing obesity, as well as keeping blood sugar and blood pressure levels in check.
Besides, mental wellness is ensured by performing basic workouts daily, which alleviates anxiety, depression, uplifts mood, elevates memory, concentration, brain and nervous system operations. After an intense workout, followed by a wholesome meal and ample fluid intake of water, deep sleep is guaranteed, which in turn banishes fatigue, lethargy and improves productivity at work and home. Additionally, serious diseases like cancer can be prevented by adhering to a mobile and active lifestyle.
And in case you are not all that into exercising regularly, don your track pants, tees and sports shoes right away and kickstart your fitness journey. So you can reap the splendid health merits of the four types of exercise, which are explained in detail in this article, to assist in attaining optimal physical fitness.
The Four Basic Kinds Of Exercises:
1. Aerobic Workouts
Aerobic exercises, also called endurance or cardiovascular exercises, primarily involve the muscle groups of the heart and lungs and are a great way to improve stamina. They help in increasing the rate of the heartbeat as well as breathing, which remarkably stimulated blood circulation to transport nutrients and oxygen to other organs and tissues in the body. By relaxing the blood vessels like arteries, veins, capillaries, aerobic exercises confer noteworthy merits for lowering bad HDL cholesterol levels, while raising good LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream and augment heart health.
Aerobic exercises comprise activities like walking, running, jogging, swimming, bicycling, dancing and step aerobics, Zumba dancing sessions at the gym.
2. Strength Training
The central role of strength training exercises is to build lean muscle mass. With increasing age, muscle tissue begins to undergo wear and tear, eventually declining in strength and mass. Performing strength training exercises everyday instils more power to core muscle groups in the arms, legs, torso, hips and thighs, to easily perform simple tasks like lifting heavy objects, climbing up a long flight of stairs or bending down swiftly. Strength training works wonders in building tough muscles, increasing bone density and pacifying pain in the lower back and elbow, knee, hip joints.
Examples of strengthening workouts include weight training, squats, push-ups, plank workout, sit-ups and arduous hikes, trekking and mountain climbing.
3. Flexibility Exercises
Engaging in stretching motions routinely helps to maintain flexibility in muscles, which tend to become shorter in elderly years. Due to factors like sports injuries, gradually increasing age and overuse of the body, the muscles as well as tendons – connective tissues that link muscle to bone begin to deteriorate and lose their inherent smooth mobility. This invariably leads to discomforting health complaints of muscle cramps, strains, sprains, joint aches, apart from tripping or falling more often and even difficulty in bending the body. Flexibility exercises promote a wider range of motion, enhance muscle elasticity, increase the length of muscles and amplify their power, aside from decreasing the chance of injuries.
The most widely performed flexibility exercises consist of pilates, different forms of stretching, yoga asanas.
4. Balance Movements
Balance movements aid in promoting stability to the body in normal positions of standing still and walking, as well as bestow vastly improved posture and a sense of steadiness in the bones and muscles. The inner ear is responsible for maintaining stability and support to the entire system and the group of muscles in the inner ear become more fragile with increasing age. This triggers episodes of falling, losing balance while holding on to an object and impairs the core muscle groups in the limbs and torso. Doing balance movements regularly helps to regain strength in the inner ear muscles, as well as instil more power to core muscle groups in the arms, hips and legs, enhances hand-eye coordination and averts the risk of injuries.
Standing up erect with the full body weight on one leg and raising the other, walking briskly and lifting the knees high, specific yoga asanas, raising the body on the toes and holding that pose as well as stepping one foot right in front of the other and covering a considerable distance are all basic balance exercises, that guarantee proper posture, stability and improved physical fitness.