There are four basic types of exercise program, all designed to help you achieve different goals. Some athletes focus more on one type of exercise program than another depending on their area of expertise, but for many of us “fitness nuts” we like to follow an exercise program, which includes aspects from all in our training workouts.
The Four Types of Exercise Program
- Strength and Resistance Training – these exercises are used to improve muscle and bone strength.
- Flexibility Exercise – to improve joint and muscle range of motion, keeping you nice and supple like those incredibly bendy gymnasts (among other things).
- Cardiovascular Exercise / Aerobics Training – this type of exercise program is designed to improve physical endurance and personal stamina.
- Balance / Core Workouts – exercises designed to improve the balance and co-ordination, whilst increasing abdominal strength.
Well now that I’ve teased you with that info, I think it’s only fair that I open up and tell you a little bit more about the types of exercises which are involved in each exercise program. What are flexibility exercises? How do I improve balance? Do people really wear those shorts at aerobic classes?
Strength and Resistance Training
Strength and resistance exercises might make you think about those weight lifters “taking the strain” when their faces go purple and their neck looks like it might burst. You can lift all the weights you want or you could do more reps to build muscle slower or your own weight combined with gravity provide you with all of the kit you’re gonna’ need. Strength and resistance training exercises not only build muscle but also help to burn calories and lose weight, as well as shaping up those lumpy bits which are not supposed to be lumpy.
Before you do any type of exercise program it’s really important that you warm up with a few light stretches, then you can perform some of the following strength and resistance training exercises. Remember, you don’t need lots of expensive equipment in a state of the art gym; you can go to a run down gym that gets the job done or do these at home! FYI even though you don’t need good equipment, better equipment leads to less injuries.
Flexibility exercises can really improve your ability to move about, improve posture and reducing muscle tension. Going through a few stretching exercises both before and after exercise is really important to reduce the risk of injury, although remember that you must warm up ‘cuz stretching cold muscles can cause injuries. Remember too that stretches should not hurt, if it starts to hurt then take it a little easier, take a few deep breaths and relax into your flexibility exercise.
Maybe if I added some stretches into my everyday workouts I could touch my toes…don’t be like me!
Cardiovascular Exercise & Aerobics Training
It doesn’t matter how old you are, how much excess weight you’re carrying or how athletic you are (or aren’t), cardiovascular and aerobics exercise is good for you. Don’t overdo it at first, gentle walking is a good start to aerobic exercise for those who have spent all of their spare time on the sofa for the past 20 years. It’ll be difficult at first, but as your body gets used to dealing with regular aerobic exercise you’ll get fitter and stronger. Aerobic training can help you in oh so many different ways.
- can help you to lose weight (and keep it off)
- can help to increase stamina
- activates your immune system helping you to ward off illness
- reduces health risks, particular those associated with obesity like heart disease and high blood pressure
- can help you to manage some chronic conditions like high blood pressure
- strengthens your heart
- can be great fun; it’s just like dancing although it can take a while to learn the steps. … and your almost never as good as your teacher.
Balance / Core Workouts
When most people think of the core they think of a six-pack (hey, isn’t that beer?) but in actual fact there’s a lot more to the core than the abdominals. The “core” consists of lots of different muscles, which stabilize the pelvis and spine and run the complete length of the torso. Balance and core workouts can help to create a solid base of support, so that the athlete (or you!!) can generate powerful movements without falling over.
The core muscles are also what makes it possible to stand erect and move around on two feet. Balance and core workouts therefore, can help to control movements, shift body weight, transfer energy and move in any different direction.
Benefits of Increasing Core Strength
- A strong core can help to reduce back pain, lots of lower back pain is caused by weak and unbalanced core muscles.
- A strong core can help to improve your athletic performance.
- A strong core improves posture as it can help to remedy postural imbalances.