Changing your lifestyle and getting fit can be overwhelming.
There is so much information out there: different types of diets and different types of exercising. But how can you know which type of workout meets your lifestyle and goals?
Here is a quick and dirty breakdown of the benefits of the four different types of exercise and how they can help build a better you.
Aerobic exercise (aka cardio)
Aerobic exercises are steady state, low to moderate intensity workouts, where you are getting your breath and heart rate up while improving your overall quality of life.
Cardio also helps reduce your body fat leading to a better BMI (Body Mass Index) and creating a leaner body. These exercises don’t have to be daunting as you can make it fun and grab some quality time with friends and family!
Types of exercise include walking, running, biking, tennis, swimming, and zumba.
Tip: You should work aerobic exercises into your routine 3 times a week for 50 minutes for best results.
- Improves hypertension, glucose and high blood pressure
- Reduces risk of dementia, heart disease, Parkinson’s disease and diabetes
- It helps with depression and anxiety
- Improves cognitive function increasing the size of your hippocampus and slowing down the aging process
Anaerobic exercises rely on energy breakdown from muscle stores as opposed to oxygen supply with aerobic activity. It is short in duration at high-intensity levels with your heart rate rising to over 70 MBH. There are two types of anaerobic exercises:
HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)
This is where you’re going to be working very hard, intervals push you with a work to rest ratio. For example, you’re going to be sprinting as fast as you can for 30 seconds and resting for 30 seconds and continuously repeat that pattern.
HIIT is the most time efficient as it requires less than half the time of traditional workouts and individuals are able to see results in only three weeks.
One app to help you get started with HIIT is this popular 7 minute workout by Johnson and Johnson.
Types of exercise: Sprinting, Jump Rope, Tabata, AMRAP and resistance training
Tip: Incorporate HIIT 2-5 times a week at 7-15 minutes for best results.
This refers to the use of resistance to muscular contraction to build the strength, anaerobic endurance and size of skeletal muscles.
Resistance training is based on the principle that muscles of the body will work to overcome a resistance force when they are required to do so. When you do resistance training repeatedly you will become stronger.
Most people refrain from resistance training because they believe it only achieves hypertrophy (growth of muscle), however, resistance training should not be looked at as just a mechanism to gain muscle mass.
Types of exercise: Body weight, dumb bells, medicine bells and resistance bands
Tip: Change up your resistance program every 6-8 weeks.
- Improved muscle strength and tone – to protect your joints from injury
- Weight management and increased muscle-to-fat ratio – as you gain muscle, your body burns more kilojoules when at rest
- Increases bone density, especially vital as women age, due to the risk of osteoporosis
- Greater stamina
- Prevention or control of chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, back pain, depression and obesity
As the great Joseph Pilates said “You are only as young as your spine is flexible.”
With flexible exercises, you are able to focus on your overall balance and movement. They help repair injuries and as well as create a better foundation for concentration, control and breath.
Types of exercise: Yoga, pilates, barre and mobility stretching
Tip: Incorporate flexible exercises 2-3 times a week
- Relaxes and lowers cortisol levels, which can decrease a person’s stress levels and also lower a person’s overall body fat percentage
- Releases tension physically and mentally
- Supports spinal musculoskeletal health
- Improves mobility and stability
- Lengthen and strengths your muscles and joints
- Increased body awareness and lung capacity
Overall, working out is super beneficial in creating a better lifestyle, and consistency is key.
Don’t make it a chore, let it be enjoyable and set goals! Any type of activity is good activity. Skip the elevator take the stairs, opt to bike to work instead of drive.
And remember: it’s important for your mental health and disease prevention to be active for at least 30 minutes a day.