When you think of exercise, you may think of rigorous sports like jogging or bicycling, which makes you breathe hard, flush and sweat profusely. However, aerobic activity is just one sort of exercise, and although it is crucial for improving fitness, three other types of exercise are as vital: strength training, balance training, and flexibility training.
Each sort of exercise is vital in its own right, and experts agree that practicing all four types is the best approach to enhance your fitness and avoid injury.
“While aerobic exercise is highly essential, it is not as helpful for general health” when done alone, according to Dr. Edward Laskowski a co-director of the Sports Medicine Center at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. “They all sort of go together” and complement one other, according to Laskowski.
Strength training, for example, strengthens muscles, which helps to support and preserve joints — and this might help avoid damage during aerobic activity. On the other hand, balance exercises employ muscular power in a coordinated method to steady your movements and may lessen the chance of injuries such as ankle sprains, according to Laskowski.
Furthermore, even if you’re fit aerobically, “if you’re not flexible, you’re still going to pull something while you’re exercising,” according to Kelly Drew, an exercise physiologist with the American College of Sports Medicine. According to Drew, flexibility also aids strength training by increasing your range of motion around your joints, allowing you to do lifts and other strength activities more efficiently.
Live Science consulted with specialists and evaluated the most recent scientific studies to get the most significant facts about various workout kinds. We’ve included links to our thorough articles on the four forms of exercise below. Each page addresses the advantages of the specific exercise style, as well as how much you should do and how to prevent injury while participating in the activity. Finally, we’ll discuss how to include all four forms of exercise into your fitness routine.
Following the Four Types of Exercise Required for Good Health
Aerobic workouts, such as jogging, swimming, or dancing, stimulate your cardiovascular system by raising your heart rate and making you breathe more deeply. This form of exercise may minimize the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and even cancer.
Weight lifting, push-ups, and crunches are examples of strength workouts that use resistance to develop your muscles (like a dumbbell or your body weight.) Because lean muscle burns more calories than other forms of tissue, this sort of exercise improves lean muscle growth, which is very essential for weight reduction.
Balance exercises help you regulate and stabilize your body’s posture. Balance gets worse as you get older, so this type of exercise is especially good for older people. Balance exercises, on the other hand, may benefit everyone, even those who have gained or lost a lot of weight or who have gotten pregnant, which can throw off your center of gravity, according to Drew.
Flexibility exercises stretch your muscles and may increase your joint range of motion. They may increase your flexibility and lower your chance of injury when participating in sports and other activities.
Putting everything together
Ideally, your routines should contain all four forms of exercise. But it doesn’t mean you have to complete four different exercises, according to Drew. Some activities, such as strength and balance training, may be combined. You could, for example, perform bicep curls while standing on one leg. Yoga, for example, incorporates strength, flexibility, and balance exercises.
Drew described a typical workout as “running or walking quickly for 30 minutes on a treadmill for cardiovascular training, then performing strength and balance exercises together, and concluding with some static stretches.”
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