The Three Basic Types of Exercise

I'm a fitness instructor. I believe that absolutely everyone should exercise. Exercising regularly benefits not just the body, but your overall health, including mental health and happiness. But sometimes the whole world of fitness can be a bit daunting considering all the different kinds of exercises and classes you see nowadays. What do you choose? What kind of training is right for you? It gets easier to decide when you know the three basic types of exercises. These are- cardio, strength training and flexibility. 

Cardio is anything that gets your heart pumping faster. Walking, cycling, swimming are good examples of cardio. 

Strength training is exercise that makes your muscles contract and increase in size. Lifting weights is a prime example of strength training. 

Flexibility is any exercise that helps you stretch your muscles, like Yoga and Pilates.

Planning a workout routine that incorporates all these three types of exercises is excellent for the body and your health. But if doing all three types to start with seems overwhelming for you, start with cardio. Cardio not only helps in burning calories and losing weight, it also builds your stamina and makes your heart stronger.

Ways you can do cardio:

1. Walking: Take a brisk walk with a friend or your music for company.
2. Use the stairs: Forgo the elevator and use the stairs. Every single time.
3. Swim: Go swimming in your pool or become a member of a gym where you can use one.
4. Cycling: If you have a bicycle, cycle around town. Otherwise your best bet is to buy a stationery bike and ride it at home, on different gears.
5. Dance: Join a dance class. Whether it's salsa, zumba or Bollywood, it's great to keep you moving.
6. Aerobics: Find out if aerobics classes are being offered in your area or gym.

Strength training:
I'd advise absolutely everyone to lift weights. They don't have to be heavy. And no, ladies, you won't bulk up. Your body is not the same as men. Weight training helps make your muscles stronger, increases metabolism {this means your body burns more calories even when you're idle} and increases bone density. But don't do strength training on consecutive days. Alternate the days as your muscles need a day in between to repair and recover.

In addition to cardio and strength training, it's highly beneficial for your muscles and joints if you incorporate yoga and/or pilates in your workout. 

But again, if strength and flexibility training sound too overwhelming right now, start with cardio. Just walking for 30 minutes every day will make a difference. Once you see your body changing and when you're ready, add the other two to your workouts. 

P.S: I've got something really exciting coming your way regarding health and fitness. Watch this space!



Shabana Feroze

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