Clients in my chiropractic office often ask me, “what’s the most beneficial type of exercise?” or “if I have time for only one type of exercise, what should it be?”
My answer is always the same, “that depends on your individual goals, preferences, and overall health.”
That’s because different types of exercises offer unique benefits, and a well-rounded fitness routine typically includes a combination of cardiovascular exercise, strength training, and flexibility exercises.
Here are some of the benefits associated with each type:
Cardiovascular Exercise (Aerobic Exercise):
- Improves heart health and strengthens the cardiovascular system.
- Boosts endurance and stamina.
- Burns calories, aids in weight management, and promotes fat loss.
- Enhances lung function and oxygen delivery.
- Reduces the risk of chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers.
- Elevates mood, reduces stress, and improves mental well-being.
Examples of cardiovascular or aerobic exercise include: Brisk walking, running, cycling, swimming, dancing, aerobic classes, and HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) workouts.
Strength Training (Resistance Training):
- Builds and tones muscles, enhancing overall strength and power.
- Increases bone density, reducing the risk of osteoporosis.
- Boosts metabolism, aiding in weight management.
- Improves joint stability and functional movements.
- Enhances body composition, creating a leaner physique.
- Helps prevent age-related muscle loss.
Examples of strength or resistance training include: Weightlifting, bodyweight exercises, resistance band workouts, kettlebell training, and Pilates.
Flexibility Exercises (Stretching, Yoga):
- Increases joint range of motion and improves flexibility.
- Enhances muscle coordination and balance.
- Reduces muscle tension and promotes relaxation.
- Improves posture and alignment.
- Supports injury prevention and muscle recovery.
- Helps relieve muscle soreness and stiffness.
Examples of flexibility exercises include: Static stretching, dynamic stretching, yoga, Pilates, and tai chi.
While incorporating all three types of exercise is generally recommended for optimal fitness, the “most beneficial” type depends on individual goals and needs. For example:
- If your goal is to improve cardiovascular health, aerobic exercises may take priority.
- If your goal is to build strength and muscle, strength training exercises may be emphasized.
- If your goal is to increase flexibility and reduce muscle tension, focusing on flexibility exercises like yoga may be beneficial.
It’s important to choose activities that you enjoy and can sustain long-term. Combining different types of exercise and varying your routine can help prevent boredom, improve overall fitness, and target various aspects of health and well-being. As a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC), I can help you by offering personalized guidance based on your specific goals, abilities, and any underlying health considerations. To learn more or schedule a consultation, please contact my Omaha office at (402) 898-1540.