Classification of Exercise
There are three basic kinds of exercise, and each has its own unique effect on the body. A good fitness regimen should include components of all three.
1) Aerobic Exercise
Popularly dubbed ‘cardio’, aerobic exercise is repetitive, rigorous, rhythmic, and involves the large muscles (like the arms and thighs). Aerobic translates as ‘with oxygen’; therefore this form works the circulatory system, increasing blood flow to the heart (and thereby oxygen flow) and improves cardiovascular fitness.
Aerobic activities include walking, jogging, cycling, jumping rope, swimming, kickboxing, using the treadmill, aerobic dancing etc.
Aerobic exercises are designed to make you breathe hard. During the process, you burn carbohydrate and stored fats. The goal here is to reach and maintain your Target Heart Range – the optimal range of heart beats when exercising.
Embarking on a fitness regime? Find out what your heart beat rate should be while exercising.
Target Heart Range can be calculated as follows:
- Subtract your age from 220 (women) or 226 (men).
- Multiply the result with 60% and 80%.
- The two limits set your desirable THR. The idea is to let regular exercise raise your THR from the lower limit to the upper limit.
Aerobics can assure you of a healthy heart. It’s something you can do regardless of age, weight or current fitness levels. Experts, however, recommend that with aerobics, you should start slow and increase intensity only as you progress.
2) Strength Conditioning
Wikipedia defines strength training as “the use of resistance to muscular contraction to build the strength, anaerobic endurance and size of skeletal muscles.”
This is the pumping-iron-type, classic gym workout that gives you rippling muscles and enviable six packs abs. Strength conditioning does have wholesome health benefits too – it corrects your cholesterol levels, improves muscle strength, joint function and bone density and also smoothens out your metabolism.
Anaerobic workouts (strength training) feature physical endurance for shorter periods as opposed to aerobic exercise, which is low-intensity exercise done over extended periods of time. Strength training works a specific group of muscles, such as bench press for the chest, the biceps curl for the arms, and back extensions for the lower back.
If this is what you’re interested in, get into the groove with the reps, sets and tempo set right. Start the squat-and-lunge-and-crunch routine. But remember – never do this without advice from a personal trainer.
3) Flexibility Training
Flexibility (stretching) exercises form an important part of good workout programme but which, unfortunately, is often ignored. It keeps the body flexible, relaxes muscles and protects from physical injury. Stretching before and after an intense workout also cuts chances of any physical soreness.
Yoga is among the best stretching exercises known to man. Additionally, it keeps the stress levels down and makes your body supple. Stretching routines are complementary to cardio and strength training in a fitness regimen.