The Benefits of Exercise
Aerobic exercise, also known as cardiovascular exercise, is activity in which the body's large muscles move in a rhythmic manner for a sustained period of time. Examples of aerobic activity are running, walking and swimming. Aerobic activity strengthens your heart and makes your lungs more efficient.
Benefits of aerobic activity include reduced fatigue, improved mood, better sleep and weight loss.
For adults ages 18 to 64, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends:
Strengthening exercises, according to the CDC, are those that increase skeletal muscle strength, power, endurance, and mass. Strengthening exercises can be done with handheld weights or weight machines, elastic bands or even the resistance of water when doing pool exercises. The CDC recommends exercise to work all the major muscle groups at least two times a week.
Flexibility, also called range of motion, is the third type of exercise. Although the CDC guidelines do not cover range-of-motion activity, it is important to keeping your body flexible and able to move freely.
This is particularly important if you have a condition such as arthritis or fibromyalgia that causes painful or stuff muscles or joints. Yoga, Pilates and simple stretching exercises are all good for helping you maintain flexibility.
- Be Active Your Way: A Guide for Adults
The best the type of physical activity is one you enjoy and will do. This guide offers advice on getting active.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Physical Activity Basics
This CDC site provides information you need to make the most of physical activity, whatever your stage of life.
- Exercise for Your Bone Health
Physical activity is essential to strong bones. Learn why – and the types of exercises you need – in this publication from the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.
- Overcoming Barriers to Physical Activity
Do have a hard time finding time to exercise? Do you lack motivation? Are you afraid of an injury? This publication looks at these and other common barriers to physical activity and offers advice for overcoming them.
- Selecting and Effectively Using a Health/Fitness Facility
Thinking of joining a gym? This publication from the American Academy of Sports Medicine offers advice on what to look for in a fitness facility – and what to do once you find one.