There are two main types of exercise: aerobic and resistance. Both are important, since each conveys different health benefits. Studies have also shown that combining both effective types of exercise has a greater impact on health than either of the two performed separately.
Let’s take a closer look at each effective type of exercise.
Aerobic exercise burns fat and calories, lowers blood sugar and improves long-term insulin sensitivity, supports cardiovascular health, improves brain function, relieves stress and lifts your mood. Walking, jogging, and dancing are examples of aerobic exercise.
Walking is a form of aerobic exercise I recommend heartily to almost everybody. It doesn’t require fancy equipment or lessons in technique. All you need is a pair of comfortable shoes.
Start your aerobic exercise program by walking 20 minutes, four times a week. If you have chronic knee or heel problems, you may prefer to swim or ride a stationary bicycle to protect your bones and joints from undue stress. When you do aerobic exercise, it’s important to move your body enough to raise your pulse above resting level.
Interval Training During Aerobic Exercise
Once you can comfortably exercise for 20 minutes, increase your pace, and then increase your duration. You should also consider incorporating interval training into your aerobic exercise routine. Research shows that interval training boosts fat burning, improves endurance and has positive effects on overall metabolism.
I recommend a minimum of 30 minutes of aerobic exercise at least four times a week.
We lose more than six pounds of lean muscle mass per decade of life after our twenties, a loss that accelerates after age 45. Some of this decline is age-related. But, the primary reason our muscles shrink is because we don’t use them. Only one thing restores muscle mass: resistance exercise.
Resistance exercise also protects bones from osteoporosis and burns fat. Examples of resistance exercise include strength and balance training and weightlifting.
To get started with resistance exercise, you will need some instruction from a personal trainer, a group class at your gym or a friend experienced in weightlifting. Once you get the hang of it, you can continue on your own—even working out at home with hand weights, if desired.
I recommend at least two or three sessions of resistance exercise weekly.
Don’t Forget to Stretch Your Muscles
Before you begin any effective types of exercise, you should stretch to warm up your muscles. Stretching gets blood flowing to the areas you’re going to be exercising and lengthens muscles and tendons, making them more pliable. The more pliable they are, the less likely they are to sprain or strain. Stretching is also especially soothing after you have exercised.
Don’t bounce when you stretch, and never force your stretching into positions of pain. Contrary to popular belief, now is not the time to try to improve flexibility. Over–stretching cold muscles can lead to tears. Stretch only to the point of tightness, holding the position for at least 60 seconds, relax, count to 10, and then repeat.