Maintaining physical fitness is a challenge. It can be a challenge to exercise effectively. According to medical experts, there are five key elements that should be a part of any physical fitness program. These elements are aerobic, strength, core, balance, and flexibility training.
Aerobic fitness is what many people think of when they visualize exercise. Aerobic activities include walking, biking, running, and swimming. Aerobic exercise raises the heart rate. It makes people breathe more quickly and more deeply, which saturates the blood with oxygen. Generally speaking, aerobic exercise works large muscle groups like the quads, glutes, and shoulders. Aerobic exercise is very beneficial for the cardiovascular system. The US Department of Health and Human Services recommends 75 to 150 minutes of aerobic activity each week for adults.
Strength training means using resistance to build muscle. Some people are intimidated by the idea of strength training because they don’t want to bulk up. But there are plenty of weight-training programs that focus on functional strength. Resistance training is also important for bone health, especially in populations that are at a higher risk for osteoporosis. Strength training also helps people improve their posture and alignment. Options for resistance training include bands, weights and body-weight. Crunches, push-ups, squats, and pull-ups are some examples of strength training exercises that use body weight.
The core of the body includes the back and the abdominal muscles. Core workouts involve exercises that challenge those muscles while they’re unsupported. Good examples of core exercises include sit-ups, bridges, planks, and V-sits. There’s often some crossover between strength training and core workouts. Exercises like leg raises challenge the core. At the same time, there’s body weight being lifted. Leg lifts can help develop the glutes, quads, and hamstrings.
Balance is one of the most overlooked senses in the body. Balance training is linked to core stability. Exercises like standing leg lifts challenge balance. Even something as simple as standing on one leg with the eyes closed can help people develop their balance. Finally, stretching and flexibility training helps people maintain their range of motion as they age. Good flexibility can also help prevent injury. Simple post-workout stretches are a great way to start with this type of fitness. Yoga and Pilates can also improve flexibility.