We talk a lot about exercise and diet here, but some readers aren’t aware that there are four types of exercise and we should be doing all of them over the course of a week. The four delineated here are the key for seniors.
The Go4Life website of the National Institute on aging at NIH says, “Exercise and physical activity fall into four basic categories — endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility. Most people tend to focus on one activity or type of exercise and think they’re doing enough. Each type is different, though. Doing them all will give you more benefits. Mixing them up also helps to reduce boredom and cuts your risk of injury.
“Though we’ve described each type separately, some activities fit into more than one category. For example, many endurance activities also build strength. Strength exercises also help improve balance.”
The four types include endurance, strength, flexibility and balance.
Endurance, or aerobic, exercises, Go4Life says, increase your breathing and heart rate. They keep your heart, lungs, and circulatory system healthy and improve your overall fitness. As a result, they delay or prevent many diseases that are common in older adults such as diabetes and heart disease. Building your endurance makes it easier to carry out many of your everyday activities. Some aerobic exercises are Brisk walking, jogging, yard work, swimming, biking. Check out our blog items How Does Exercise Benefit the Brain and Exercise, Aging and the Brain for information on more benefits.
Strength exercises build up your muscles. Even small increases in strength can make a big difference in your ability to stay independent and carry out everyday activities, such as climbing stairs and carrying groceries. These exercises also are called “strength training” or “resistance training.”
Balance exercises help prevent falls, a common problem in older adults. Many lower-body strength exercises also will improve your balance.
Flexibility exercises stretch your muscles and can help your body stay limber. Being flexible gives you more freedom of movement for other exercises as well as for your everyday activities.