There are four main categories of exercise— aerobic, strength, flexibility and balance. Each category of exercise has different health benefits. Try doing a mix of different exercise categories to be your healthiest self.
Aerobic exercise is what many people think of when they think of physical activity. Aerobic activity helps keep your heart and lungs strong. It is normal for your breathing and heart rate to change when you’re doing aerobic exercise.
Aerobic exercise can help you:
- Chase after your kids or grandchildren
- Climb the stairs
- Reduce risk of falls
It’s important to check with your doctor before starting any new aerobic activity, especially if you have any pre-existing heart conditions.
Strength exercise is sometimes called resistance training. This type of exercise focuses on strengthening your muscles. You can do strength exercises with equipment, such as weights, or you can use your own body weight. Keep your muscles strong by doing strength activities at least two days per week.
Strength exercises can help you:
- Carry your kids or grandchildren
- Pick up and set down heavy groceries
- Climb strairs
See our section on equipment swaps for ideas on how to use items around the house in your workouts instead of purchasing weights and other equipment.
You can count on stretching to help you with many daily activities. Flexibility keeps your muscles "elastic" (like a rubber band!). It helps you reach for items far away. It also can help prevent and reduce pain.
Flexibility exercises can help you:
- Dress yourself
- Have less pain
- Improve your posture