Types of Activity

Physical Activity Is for Everyone!

Guidelines for exercise focus on two main types of activity: aerobic and muscle-strengthening. Each type has important health benefits.

What is Aerobic Activity?

Aerobic activities, also called endurance activities, are physical activities in which people move their large muscles in a rhythmic manner for a sustained period. Aerobic activity makes a person’s heart beat more rapidly to meet the demands of the body’s movement. Over time, regular aerobic activity makes the heart and cardiovascular system stronger and fitter.

Aerobic physical activity should preferably be spread throughout the week. Research studies consistently show that activity performed on at least three days a week produces health benefits. Spreading physical activity across at least three days a week may help to reduce the risk of injury and avoid excessive fatigue.

Both moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity should be performed in episodes of at least 10 minutes. Episodes of this duration are known to improve cardiovascular fitness and some risk factors for heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

How Do I Strengthen My Muscles?

Muscle-strengthening activities provide additional benefits not found with aerobic activity. The benefits of muscle-strengthening activity include increased bone strength and muscular fitness. Muscle-strengthening activities also can help maintain muscle mass during a program of weight loss.

Muscle-strengthening activities make muscles do more work than they are accustomed to doing. That is, they overload the muscles. Resistance training, including weight training, is a familiar example of muscle-strengthening activity.

No specific amount of time is recommended for muscle strengthening, but muscle-strengthening exercises should be performed to the point at which it would be difficult to do another repetition without help. When resistance training is used to enhance muscle strength, one set of eight to 12 repetitions of each exercise is effective, although two or three sets may be more effective. Development of muscle strength and endurance is progressive over time. Increases in the amount of weight or the days per week of exercising will result in stronger muscles. (Source: health.gov)

Aerobic Activities

What a lovely way to spend a Sunday

Moderate Intensity

  • Walking briskly
  • Water aerobics
  • Bicycling slowly

Vigorous Intensity

  • Racewalking, jogging or running
  • Swimming laps
  • Bicycling 10 miles per hour or faster

Muscle Strengthening

push up

Muscle strengthening activities can include:

  • Weight training
  • Resistance bands
  • Push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups

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Think You’re Too Old to Exercise? Think Again.

According to the National Institute on Aging, exercise and physical activity are a very important part of staying healthy as you age.  If you’re a senior and haven’t been active in a while, check out these 20 FAQs about health and aging.

20 FAQs About Healthy Aging
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