The benefits of exercise can effect every part of our body. Exercising on a regular basis makes us feel good both mentally and physically. As we age exercising becomes increasingly important to prevent disease and disabilities. There are different types of exercises and each type benefits us in different ways.
1) Aerobic Exercises, also referred to as Cardiovascular Exercises,
raise heart rate and breathing and should be sustained for at least 20
minutes. Aerobic activity strengthens the heart and lungs, burns
calories, reduces stress, increases energy. Examples are: brisk
walking, jogging, swimming, cross training, stair climbing, and
2) Strength Training Exercises or Anaerobic exercise is high intensity exercise performed for a short period of time, using resistance methods like weights. It builds muscle mass and strength and helps increase bone density and bone strength, as well as increased metabolic rate. Stronger muscles and bones mean improved posture, stronger back, improved balance and increased tone. Improved metabolic rate means your body burns calories more efficiently. Examples include: weight lifting, push-ups, pull-ups, rope jumping and isometrics. How much strength training should you do? Work up to 20-30 minutes, 2-3 times a week, working on all major muscle groups – arms, legs, shoulders, and trunk.
3) Stretching Exercise increases flexibility,
reduces muscle tension, improves your range of movement and prevents
injury. Improved flexibility will help improve coordination and
balance and generally help improve your ability to perform daily tasks.
Stretching lowers the risk of injury when participating in sports or
any other activity. Stretch everyday for about 5 minutes and
especially before and after cardio and strength training exercises.
Examples of simple stretches that you can do any time include: rolling
your head, shoulders, wrists and ankles in both directions, twisting
your torso, stretching out your fingers and folding into a tight fist.
Stretching should not be painful, but it should cause some slight
If you want to continue to move and function independently 10-15 years down the road, exercise is a must, now more than ever. After about the age of 25 muscle mass begins to decline. Most muscle loss comes from lack of use, not aging. So, even if you have never exercised, it's not too late to start building muscles and regain strength as well as energy.
Whether you prefer to walk, play tennis, exercise in the privacy of your home or join a health club, the important thing is to participate in some kind of physical activity at least 3 days a week (preferably 5 or 6). Try to choose a variety of activities that implement the three types of exercise mentioned above.
Don't deny yourself the chance to reap the benefits of exercise. Your body will love you for it!