Everyone knows exercise is essential to good health, but the types of exercise you do matter almost as much as choosing to exercise in the first place. If you neglect to exercise certain parts of your body, those parts will suffer for it. Plus, doing the same kind of exercise all the time can get repetitive. Here are six types of exercise you shouldn’t skip.
1. Warmups and Cooldowns
A workout can be as high-intensity or low-intensity as you desire, but no matter the level of physical activity you should always warm up and cool down. Active stretches such as side shuffles and high knees get your blood flowing and loosen your muscles, which reduces risk of injury during your workout. Cooldown exercises such as child’s pose and slow jogging help you slow your heart rate down again and reduce the stress built up in your muscles during your workout, reducing post-workout soreness.
2. Lower Body Exercises
The lower body can be particularly neglected if you work at a desk or are otherwise sedentary. It consists of all your muscles below the waist, and improving the strength of these muscles can improve your posture and balance. Strong muscles in the lower body also help improve the health and mobility of your bones and joints. Practices such as glute activation exercises are some of the most important lower body workouts, as the gluteal muscles are some of the largest muscles in your body and are responsible for supporting your core and back.
3. Aerobic Exercise
Aerobic exercise, also called endurance or cardio, is all about respiratory and cardiovascular health. Most people think of aerobic exercise as running or jogging, but you can also get your cardio in by playing sports like basketball or soccer, dancing, hiking, or riding a bike. All of these options improve the health of your heart, lungs, and related organs. Remember, doing only aerobic exercise can cause imbalances in your overall muscle strength and flexibility, which can cause issues such as joint pain. It’s essential you incorporate aerobic exercise into a balanced routine instead of focusing solely on cardio.
4. Flexibility and Balance
While cardio and muscle tone are vital aspects of exercise, an often overlooked type of exercise is flexibility and balance training. Those skills may not be as flashy or seem as simple as running marathons or lifting weights, but without flexibility and balance, other exercises would be much more difficult. Flexibility training, such as yoga and pilates, helps your muscles and ligaments stay limber and mitigates the risk of injury from the wear and tear of other types of exercise. Balance training supports your lower body and helps prevent falls.
5. Core Exercises
Another area of your body you should focus on strengthening and toning is your core. Improving core strength isn’t really about gaining visible abs, but more about ensuring your whole body is supported as you move. Your core is part of nearly all movement, from walking to twisting to lifting objects. If your core is weak, you’ll likely have a lower level of endurance and experience issues such as back pain.
6. Upper Body Exercises
Like all strength training, upper body exercise is meant to tone and strengthen your muscles in order to better support your bones, joints, and other tissues. Upper body strength is essential for upper back support and good posture, as well as balancing the strength and flexibility of your body. If you neglect to give your upper body the same exercise attention as your core and lower body, your bones and joints may be weaker and you may experience pain from unbalanced muscles.
Keep in mind, you don’t need to do every kind of exercise every time you work out. Try to keep your routine flexible and varied, maybe focusing on one muscle group or one type of exercise per session and rotate exercises throughout the week. Your body will benefit immensely from varying your exercise routine.