Why Aerobic and Muscle Strengthening Activities Should be Part of Your Exercise Routine
This blog is written in conjunction with Wyndham Bonett and Lee Weber, FSU medical students.
If you’ve begun to feel more sluggish, tired or fatigued, there might be a solution that can help you feel better — and it’s as simple as regular exercise.
When you think about your daily routine, how much exercise do you really get? Now, think about your mood, energy and your aches and pains. If you’d rank none of these things positively, regular exercise may improve your life both physically and emotionally.
What Kind of Exercise Should I Do?
You can get regular exercise in several ways, depending on your preference and ability. There are two main types of exercise that are beneficial for overall health: aerobic activity and muscle strengthening.
Aerobic activities increase cardiovascular health, stamina and weight loss. These exercises should include moderate to vigorous activity, meaning your heart begins to race and you breathe harder and faster. Examples of aerobic workouts include brisk walking, running, stair climbing or using an elliptical machine. Initially, you’ll need to build your tolerance for aerobic exercise, but this will become easier with time. The CDC suggests vigorous aerobic activity at least three days a week, or combining aerobic activity with muscle strengthening activities to boost physical fitness.
Muscle strengthening exercises are meant to increase the size of the muscles. Muscle growth increases strength, coordination, physical ability and helps with weight loss. Weight lifting is one muscle strengthening exercise most people can do. You don’t even need dumbbells—just use your own body weight to challenge your muscles.
Exercise and Weight Loss
Millions of people each day struggle with being overweight. They may try to lose weight by eating a balanced diet, sticking to a regular exercise regimen or by doing a combination of both.
Research has proven that a combination of diet and exercise leads to more weight loss than diet or exercise alone. Whether you choose aerobic or muscle strengthening activities, getting your heart rate up for a sustained amount of time every day will be beneficial to your weight loss efforts. Since your body must create enough energy to sustain the exercise, the energy will come from stored reserves, which leads to weight loss.
A great tip for making sure you stick to diet and exercise goals is to tell those closest to you about your plans. Research also indicates finding someone you can partner with and who shares similar goals can empower you to accomplish these goals together and can be an effective strategy to lose weight and stay physically healthy.
Learning to Exercise
The best way to get results is to prepare first, which you can do by learning about different types of exercises. The CDC's website has information on exercise guidelines and examples of how to perform different physical activities safely. The website also features a text and video series about exercise and more detail about certain types of exercises you easily can start today at home.
The level of physical activity you can perform may vary by age or physical ability, so find something you’re comfortable with and can enjoy. Seniors, for example, can do brisk walks around large, air-conditioned spaces like malls or convention centers to safely increase their physical fitness. For young kids and teens, organized sports and playing around their neighborhoods are good options. Adults busy with work or who don’t live close to a fitness center can do aerobic or muscle strengthening exercises at their home. It doesn’t matter where or what type of exercise you do, as long as you do it regularly.
Sticking to Your Regimen
The key to staying physically healthy is making time for it and being willing to try. As long as you make an effort to exercise, whether it’s muscle strengthening activities or aerobics, you’ll be headed in the right direction. If you have physical limitations, consult your doctor about options to appropriately incorporate exercise into your regular routine. By being physically active and fit, you can improve your quality of life and even prolong it.
And while you make plans to improve your exercise regimen, here’s a healthy recipe to help you kick start a healthy diet.
ABC Pudding - Avocado, Banana, Chocolate Delight
1 ripe avocado, peeled and pitted
4 very ripe bananas
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for garnish
Place avocados, bananas, and cocoa powder in a blender; puree until smooth.
Pour pudding into serving bowls and sprinkle additional cocoa powder on top for garnish.
Chill in refrigerator for texture and flavor to develop, at least 1 hour.
Extra Tip: For a colder treat, use frozen banana slices, and once pureed, stick in the freezer for 5 minutes before serving
Nutrition Facts per ½ cup serving:
197 calories, 8 grams fat, 5.8 mg sodium, 34 grams Carbohydrate, 8 grams fiber, 3.4 grams protein, 8 mg Caffeine.
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