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The 4 Types of Exercises for Benefit and Variety

Different kinds of physical activity makes workouts interesting


NIH/National Institute on Aging

It’s important to vary your exercise program to prevent boredom and to get the benefit of different types of activities.

Be creative. Regularly include endurance, strength, balance and flexibility exercises in your routine.

1. Endurance: Endurance exercises increase your breathing and heart rate and help improve your overall health and fitness. Brisk walking, swimming, and hiking are excellent endurance activities. Activities such as these can make daily activities, such as mowing the lawn or climbing stairs, easier. They also can help you:

  • Keep up with your grandchildren during a trip to the park.
  • Dance to your favorite songs at the next family wedding.
  • Rake the yard and bag up the leaves.

2. Strength: Strength, or resistance, exercises increase muscle strength. You can use weights or resistance bands for these exercises. Even small improvements in muscle strength can make a big difference in your ability to perform everyday tasks. Strength training also will make it easier to:

  • Lift your carry-on bag into the overhead bin of the airplane.
  • Carry groceries in from the car.
  • Pick up bags of mulch in the garden.

3. Balance: Balance exercises can help prevent falls, a common problem in older adults. Some lower-body strength exercises also can help improve your balance. Tai chi is another example of a balance exercise. Balance exercises can help you:

  • Turn around quickly when you’re walking and hear a bicycle bell behind you.
  • Walk along a gravel path without losing your balance.
  • Stand on tiptoe to reach something on a top shelf.

4. Flexibility: Stretching can help your body stay flexible and limber, giving you freedom of movement that helps with your regular daily activities. Yoga is a great example of a flexibility exercise. Flexibility exercises make it easier to:

  • Bend down to tie your shoes.
  • Look over your shoulder as you back out of the driveway.
  • Stretch to clean hard-to-reach areas of the house.

This material is provided by Go4Life , the exercise and physical activity campaign for adults over 50 from the National Institute on Aging at NIH.

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