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Exercise means any bodily activity that helps to maintain physical fitness and overall health of the human being, and you can include different types of exercise.

Being physically active is beneficial for all the age groups of people as it helps to alleviate stress, deal with mood swings, maintain a healthy weight, prevent gestational illnesses such as diabetes, hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism. Not just that, it also aids in improving infertility for those who have a sedentary life. For women, it helps in the treatment of PCOS (Polycystic Ovary syndrome), which is quite common in females.

benefits of exercise
Exercise is good for your physical and mental health. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

So let’s have a look at different types of exercise one can try and their benefits:

1. Aerobics

Aerobics mean physical exercise that requires oxygen. During such exercise, the oxygen is carried to your muscles in order to meet the energy demands. It is also referred to as cardio, meaning any physical activity that can be sustained for an extended period of time, uses large muscle groups and increases heart rate. A 30-45 minutes of daily aerobic exercise routine burns approximately 400 calories. For pregnant women, 15-30 minutes of aerobic exercise under supervision is highly beneficial.

Different types of cardio/aerobic exercises include:

* Cycling
* Cross training
* Walking (normal/brisk)
* Rowing
* Running
* Dancing

Its benefits include weight management or keeping weight gain in check, increasing stamina, fitness and strength, strengthening heart, boosting one’s mood, improving lung function and keeping lifestyle disorders in check.

Also, read: Hate exercising? 5 fun alternatives to exercise

2. Strength building

Strength training, also known as resistance or weight training, is a form of anaerobic exercise that involves the breakdown of glucose (sugar) for energy without the need for oxygen. The main focus of this exercise is to build and maintain muscle mass through the use of bodyweight or external resistance. It is ideal for people between 20-45 years of age. Body builders, weight lifters, athletes all benefit from strength training.

The benefits of strength training include increase in muscle mass for large groups of muscles like calf, thighs and arms. It also leads to an increased strength level in the body, controls increase in body fat and improves bone health. It decreases the risk of injuries and improves joint health, thus, reducing muscular imbalance issues.

weight training
Weight training is important. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

3. Balance training

Balance training exercises are slow, controlled movements that engage and strengthen core muscles in your abdomen, back, and pelvis. Since instability, poor posture, and decreased performance may occur as a result of weak core muscles, regular balance training in daily routine improves that. Balance training exercises include bridging, planks, push-ups, and wobble board exercises. Pilates is also a really famous form of exercise for improving stability and core strength.

Performing these exercises benefits everyone and can improve a person’s ability to carry out daily activities with much ease, such as lifting heavy objects, climbing stairs, or standing up from a chair. It is also sometimes referred to as functional fitness. It highly helps the old age group, athletes and dancers, or those who have undergone lower limb injuries.

4. Stretching exercises

Stretching exercises are a very important aspect but ignored by everyone, most of the time. It’s important to have a flexible body in order to carry out daily activities, like bending down to pick up an object or lifting something overhead or even looking back to reverse your car.

There are four types of stretching exercise:

* Active stretching is focused on using one muscle group to stretch another.
* Passive stretching uses an external force to provide the pull for the stretch.
* Dynamic stretching involves stretching the muscles while moving the body part repeatedly.
* PNF stretching is very focused. The physical therapist will specifically focus on target muscles by holding you in position.

Pregnant women benefit from stretching exercises as they get a lot of cramps in the calf muscles and legs during pregnancy. It is important to hold the stretch for at least 30 seconds to allow the muscles to elongate.

stretching exercises
Stretching keeps your flexibility intact. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Benefits of stretching exercises:

* Increases range of motion
* Decreases stiffness
* Decreases muscle soreness post exercise
* Warms up for the body pre-exercise
* Helps to improve posture and maintain good posture
* Decreases cramps in the muscles

So, one can choose the type of exercises that suit them the best in order to keep the body and mind healthy and fit.

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