There are four different types of exercise, or types of physical exercises.
These include types of aerobic exercise in the cardiovascular category, as well as different types of physical exercises that enhance other vital functions of the body.
None of the four main types of physical activity require expensive equipment for exercise!
We'll take a look at each of these four categories, as well as looking at the question of "what exercise for your body type is best?' and touch on the best type of exercise equipment as well.
There are four different types of exercise that each help the body in a different way.
The type of exercise for your body type that is best for every body type is all four kinds, as you will see that each different kind helps a different function of your body.
Since each of these different kinds of exercise focus on improving a particular function of the body, you'll get the most benefit from engaging in some of each kind.
Let's take a look at these types of physical exercises and what they do for your body and level of physical fitness.
Strength training is also known as resistance training.
Until a couple of years ago, I thought that strength training was the same as body building!
Boy, was I wrong and having that false idea caused me to miss out on an extremely effective type of physical exercise.
Body building is actually a specific sport where the goal of the participants is muscle definition and shape.
Weight lifting is also a sport with the goal being the amount of weight lifted.
You can watch weight lifting competitions in the Olympics.
Strength exercises improve the capability of your muscles and bones.
Every physical movement that we do uses muscles and muscle groups.
Our entire body depends on our muscles and bones, the skeletal structure, as a strong frame.
We'd be amoeba-like blobs without our bone and muscle structure!
If your lower back has ever been achy, if carrying heavy objects around or walking any distance is an effort, the main cause is weak muscles.
An excellent way to get some strength training and maximize the benefits of walking, which is a great cardiovascular activity, is to add hand/wrist weights.
Whenever I've used hand or leg weights while walking, I've noticed a definite increase in speed of results, feeling fit faster!
If you want to lose weight and inches, resistance training (strength exercise) is superb.
I've personally experienced it!
Muscle tissue contains more of the "fat burning" part of a cell called the mitochondria.
Strength exercise increases muscle tissue mass and the number of mitochondria, which create energy in the body.
Check out this article on what is metabolism for more understanding of this vital physical process.
Muscles naturally weaken as we age if we don't use them.
Muscles support the body in several ways.
One of the most obvious ways is posture.
People with good posture have strong muscles! Without muscles, we'd look like a slug.
Doing some regular strength training will help to reverse weakened muscles and alleviate pain that comes from having weak muscles.
As you strengthen the muscles in your body, your stamina also improves.
This form of exercise also increases bone mass and density.
If you're afraid of developing weak bones and slouching like the Humpback of Notre Dame, strength exercise is your answer!
Strengthening your muscles and bones requires resistance to the muscle or muscle group - for example, like the opposing force you get when you arm wrestle. (Arm wrestling is a great stress buster and it's fun - not that I do it all the time!)
Any type of weight can be used for resistance, from weight machines like a Bowflex® or the kind at gyms and fitness centers, resistance bands and dumbbells (hand weights), to simply your own weight, as in push-ups.
Strength training, or resistance training benefits just about everyone.
So how can you get in some resistance training at the right level for you?
"Flexibility" comes from the word "flex," which means to bend, like at the elbow or contract, like a muscle (get shorter in length.)
Flexibility exercises improve the range of motion of joints and muscles.
Stretching is one of the different types of exercise that improves flexibility.
Think about it for a second...
If your joints and muscles didn't have much flexibility, you'd move around like the Tin Man of "The Wizard of Oz!
Exercises that improve flexibility improve your ability to move naturally, improve your posture, your ability to breathe more deeply and naturally and it's one of the types of exercise that improves your circulation and alleviates the muscle tension that accompanies stress.
This category includes all types of aerobic exercise.
"Cardiovascular" is practically a household word, but what does it really mean?
Well, "cardio" refers to the heart and "vascular" refers to the blood vessels.
Cardiovascular exercise improves how well your body gets and uses oxygen by improving the ability of your lungs, heart and blood circulation to deliver it to all the cells in your body, which is required for your body to survive!
(See the article on metabolism for more information on why that's an important factor in regards to your health.)
Cardiovascular exercise improves your ability to engage in any physical activity for longer periods of time because it increases the ability of the lungs and heart to get oxygen to the large muscle groups that are used during physical activity.
There are many types of exercise that improve your cardiovascular system.
Types of aerobics exercise are all cardiovascular because they all improve the ability of the body to take in and utilize oxygen
The word "aerobic" means "with air" and actually refers to "aerobic metabolism," not exercise.
Aerobic metabolism is described in the article on metabolism.
When you see "aerobic exercise" it really means "cardiovascular exercise."
However, the term "aerobics" refers to any repetitive, fairly low intensity exercise involving large muscle groups.
Aerobics improve the ability of the heart and lungs to provide oxygen to the working muscles.
"Aerobics" as one of the types physical exercise became very popular during the 1980's as the main focus of the "fitness" craze then.
I still get a mental picture of Olivia Newton-John in a head band and leg warmers, heh heh heh!
Examples of other types of exercise that improve cardiovascular functioning are brisk walking, swimming, cycling and climbing stairs.
Find out how a wrist heart rate monitor will help you get the most benefit from your cardiovascular exercising.
An excellent tool to help you achieve your health and fitness goals with walking is a pedometer.
We don't hear too much about exercises to improve balance but engaging in the other three types of exercise does have a beneficial effect on balance.
In my physical therapy, for example, I do certain strength exercises that are improving my balance.
Walking, a cardiovascular exercise, improves balance.
So does rebounding, or mini trampoline exercise, which actually gives you strength, cardiovascular and flexibility benefits all in one simple activity.
Here's a link to the article in the International News Herald, which describes the issue of balance quite well and includes a few exercises for balance:
As you have probably figured out by now, all four of the main types of exercise contribute to improving your health and your level of physical fitness.
The very best type of exercise equipment is...
The one you actually use!
Now that you understand the difference between the different types of physical exercises, you can tell better what a particular type of equipment might help you with.
For example, a treadmill for walking or jogging will help you with cardiovascular exercise.
A weight set or resistance band will help you with strength exercise.
If you want to improve your health and energy, exercise is one of the four primary factors that contribute to your health and vitality.
Start incorporating the different types of exercise into your life on a gradual, realistic basis, noticing how your body responds (a little soreness at first is normal but it should not be severe and it does go away as you continue incorporating physical activity into your daily living.)
Most importantly, pick a variety of exercises that you will enjoy!
If you gradiently, step-by-step blend the different types of exercise into your life and you enjoy them, it will be much easier to continue and start experiencing how much better you feel, which then assists motivation.
From my own experience, I know that just a little bit of each of the different types of exercise makes a noticeable difference and you can feel improvements, even if "small," pretty much right away.
Those improvements motivate me even more and it gets easier and easier to continue. I get to the point where I am craving physical activity and exercises and the good feelings I get from regular exercising.
That really helps when you need to "get back into it" after dropping out of your physical activity routine.
It's easier to get started again (at the right level, usually you need to cut back from the last time you were exercising regularly) because you have the memory of how good you feel and you've "been there" at a starting point before.
So if you're just starting out, rest assured that if you start at the right level, choose activities that interest you and are enjoyable so you do them regularly, you will be rewarded with more energy, more stamina and an increased ability to enjoy your life without your attention getting stuck on how "out of shape" you are!
A final word about the different types of physical exercise...
There is an important difference between " physical activity" and "exercise" that is explained completely on the "exercise information" page.
Exercise is physical activity that is focused on a particular part of the body to improve its performance.
If you are one of millions who know that exercise will contribute to your health but can't stand even the thought of any of the types of physical exercise, this information will help you tremendously.
Have you ever grit your teeth and told yourself that "this time you're going to stick to an exercise program no matter what!" but time after time you fall down and you can't get up??
If this sounds familiar, I highly recommend that you read the exercise information article first, or at least right after this one!
It will give you a much more realistic understanding of the roles of physical activity and exercise in attaining good health, which includes weight management.
You'll no doubt choosing the types of exercise that you actually enjoy much more easily!
health begins with good information."
- B.B. Martin