A balanced regular exercise routine is important for our overall health and completing regular daily activities.
Physical fitness isn’t just about being a weightlifter, marathon runner, or having a bikini body. Good physical health is important for your overall health and mindset. Being purposefully active regularly has everyday benefits. For example, a fall can have serious consequences. According to the CDC, one out of five falls results in an injury. So, making sure we do regular balance and strength exercises can help prevent serious injury if we are to fall.
The minimum exercise guidelines for an adult (ages 18-64) are 150 minutes of moderate activity a week and 2 days of strength activities. That looks like, five 30-min brisk walks and two strength videos on YouTube. For 65 and older, the guideline is the same and in addition, add balance activities. That looks like, a 1-hour long yoga class and two 45-min brisk walks.
There are four types of exercises we should do every week: balance, flexibility, strength, and endurance.
- Balance exercises are important for carrying out everyday activities. This movement will help prevent falls or more serious injuries.
- Flexibility exercises have benefits like injury prevention, less pain, improved posture, a better mindset, increased strength, and overall better ability to move.
- Endurance exercise is what we often think of when we hear “exercise”- aerobic activity. Something to get your blood flowing. It is good for your heart and makes everyday activities easier (like going up stairs).
- Strength exercises also make everyday activities easier and can protect from injury and reduce fall risk. Building strength builds muscle which improves balance.
Each exercise session doesn’t need to focus on one type- often different types are combined. Like Yoga combines flexibility, balance, and strength.
Where to start: Doing a little homework is important and checking with your doctor to make sure you are physically ready. Check out your local gym or YMCA and schedule a session with a trainer. Ask your favorite health coach for advice on how to get started. Getting some tips from a professional makes it more fun, tailored to you, and prevents injury.
Start slowly, and try different things until you find what works for you and what you like. If you don’t like a type of exercise even though your neighbor raves about it, don’t do it! The more you enjoy it, the more regularly you’ll do it.