What Type of Exercise Is Best for You?
Choosing the best type of exercise for your lifestyle can be as easy as participating in an activity you like, whether it’s biking with the family or playing a not-so-serious game of basketball. All forms of exercise are beneficial for your health. Aerobic exercises are prolonged physical activities that you can perform continuously for at least 12 minutes and that use oxygen to provide energy for your muscles. Aerobic exercises such as brisk walking, jogging, swimming, and bicycling use the large muscles in your trunk, upper body, and legs in repeated rhythmic movements that you sustain for long periods. This type of exercise strengthens your heart, making it work more efficiently during exercise and at rest.
If you are just starting an exercise program and have been inactive, ask your doctor to recommend activities that are safe, especially if you have an existing health problem such as diabetes or high blood pressure. Men who are already fit should add other types of exercises to their aerobic routine. Strength-conditioning exercises using free weights or exercise machines can also strengthen your heart and can help you build strength, improve posture, and reduce your risk of lower-back injury. Flexibility exercises such as stretching help you to maintain complete range of motion in your joints and can prevent injury and muscle soreness.
Before beginning any new exercise program, always consult with your doctor if you are over age 40, smoke, or have any risk factors for heart disease, including high blood pressure, a high cholesterol level, diabetes, or a family history of heart disease.