Top 3 Best Types of Exercise and Their Surprising Health Benefits
Ready to tweak your lifestyle, get active and become healthy? Perhaps you want to drop a few pounds, build lean mass, or improve your overall fitness? By now, you should know that regular exercise comes with a lot of health benefits. But what type of exercise would work best for you? Not every exercise is for everyone.
There’s weight training, running, CrossFit, Pilates, team sports, group classes and everything in between. Some people could spend hours lifting weights but run out of breath after climbing the stairs.
Some prefer to train alone, while others enjoy working out as part of a team.
To help you make a choice, we’ll take a closer look at the most popular types of exercise and their health benefits.
Contrary to popular belief, strength training isn’t just for gym buffs and those looking to build mass. Its benefits go beyond a strong, lean body.
Lifting weights is one of the best ways to balance your hormones, increase bone density, burn fat, and skyrocket your metabolism. When combined with a balanced diet, this training method can improve your body composition aka muscle-to-fat ratio and shape your figure the way you want.
Do you want to gain bigger or stronger muscles? If so then training for increase in muscle size involves different training technique than training for stronger muscles. Both can be achieved by alternating strength training and size training workout program.
Here are different types of strength training and their benefits.
- Agile Strength Training – enhances the ability to change direction and move quickly while maintaining coordination and balance.
- Strength Endurance Training – enhances the ability to hold a position for extended period.
- Maximum Strength Training – enhances the ability to resist force against an external object.
- Relative Strength Training -enhances the ability to resist force against to external object relative a persons size
- Speed Strength Training -enhances the ability to move an object at high speed
- Starting Strength Training – enhances the forces at the beginning of the movement
- Explosive Strength Training -enhances the most forces in a short period of time
Strength training may also delay and even reverse the effects of aging, such as loss of balance, falls and slips, fractures, and osteoporosis. It’s just as beneficial for the elderly as it is for young people. In clinical trials, this form of exercise has been shown to protect against diabetes, improve glycemic control, and reduce heart disease risk. Who says you can’t go to the club with your grandmother. I am talking about the health club. Don’t get it twisted.
Just like with any other activity, too much of a good can cause more harm than good. To get the minimal benefits from weight training experts recommends training each muscle group only two time a week.
Cardiovascular Training: Slow Steady or High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
From swimming and running to rowing, there are lots of ways to squeeze more cardio into your routine. Cardio is consider endurance training and is best known for its ability to torch fat and improve cardiovascular health. Its beneficial effects, though, are much greater.
This training method can help lower your blood pressure, improve blood lipids, and prevent diabetes. It also stimulates the release of serotonin, dopamine, and other “feel-good” hormones that balance your mood and ward off depression.
The verdict is still mixed on whether cardio or resistance training offers more weight loss. A study by Duke University suggested cardio. However, cardio exercise isn’t a cure-all as many goers think. Too much cardio can mess up your hormones as it raises cortisol levels and reduces testosterone levels. In the long run, it may lead to muscle loss and injuries.
It is recommended that moderate intensity cardio should occur fives time a week at a minimum of 30minutes per session.
For best body composition results, mix cardio and weight training.
Another alternative is high-intensity interval training (HIIT). HIIT provides all of the benefits of cardio in a fraction of the time. It torches stubborn fat, improves insulin response, and helps preserve lean muscle. HIIT session should be short , intense and performed 2 – 3 times per week. Be careful not to hurt yourself because HIIT also comes with an increased risk of injury.
CrossFit: The New Kid on the Block
A good way to incorporate both cardio and strength training into your routine is to practice CrossFit. This high-intensity training protocol offers the best of both worlds. It promotes lean muscle growth and burns fat, boosts cardiovascular fitness, and improves overall conditioning. Plus, it enhances your balance, coordination, speed, strength, and flexibility.
One of the most appealing aspects of CrossFit is the support network behind it. The moment you join a CrossFit studio, you’ll become part of a team that shares your goals and supports you every step of the way.
Beware, though, that CrossFit isn’t for everyone. If you’re new to exercise, you may not be able to keep up with its demands. The workouts are intense and challenging, and may seem grueling even for veteran gym goers. The risk of injury is higher too.
If you prefer a gentler form of exercise, you can always go for Pilates, yoga, or brisk walking. It all comes down to your goals and fitness level. Regardless of what you choose, start slowly and focus on building up your endurance and strength. You will still gain some of the health benefits of exercise . Be consistent, stick to your workouts, and the results will follow.