What Is Exercise?

Exercise is the process of moving the body, exerting it or engaging in physical activity which increases the heart rate beyond what it is at rest. Exercise is what is done when the body is not in stasis, and is pushed just outside of what is comfortable. This can range from standing up, going for a walk, lifting weights, to what you see athletes accomplish on t.v. Exercise is an essential part of life to prevent certain diseases and specific health issues. Exercise can be roughly divided into four main types; aerobic, balance, flexibility and strength.

Myths About Exercise:

Exercise is an area that is full of myths. Many people find getting motivated for exercise very difficult and as a result certain “pros” will push “get fit quick” schemes to fill this gap. The reality is though, Exercise can range from fun to exhilarating for some, but mundane to tedious for others. Tips from “Pros” will include that working out in the morning makes a significant impact on metabolic rates,  when, in reality, the body quickly returns to its normal resting state. Other myths include that it’s better to specialise in cardio than muscle mass building if looking to lose fat, when in reality extra muscle increases your passive calorie burning throughout the day. Finally – that there is a secret to getting fit and keeping healthy, when really it is about taking yourself consistently out of what your body finds comfortable. 

Types of Exercise:

Exercise is split into four main types. Examples of these types are below in a non-exhaustive list.

Aerobic Exercise: focussing on increasing breathing and heart rates, by maintaining circulatory and lung health.

  • A walk
  • Jogging
  • Climbing
  • Stair Climbing
  • Dancing
  • Biking
  • Gardening
  • Swimming 

Strength Exercises: necessary for maintaining bone density and strength especially for older adults. Strength training is important to maintain daily tasks such as carrying shopping or washing clothes.

  • Weight Lifting
  • Resistance machines such as what is found at the gym
  • Calisthenics (Body weight exercises)
  • Band 

Flexibility Exercises: help to keep and increase how limber the body is and being able to perform motion with a wide range.

  • Stretching exercises
  • Yoga

Balance Exercises: improving balance is necessary especially as we get older where the risk of falls increases. It can also improve the body’s core strength.

  • Walking in a straight line 
  • Tai Chi
  • Stretching with one foot on the ground

Benefits of Exercise:

The benefits of exercise well outweigh the negatives and the barrier to entry is often one’s effort and desire to see a physical improvement. The benefits can be superficial but for many the main motivator for exercise is to have a better quality of life for longer. Some of the potential benefits that exercise can give are:

  • Weight control.
  • Less risk of heart disease.
  • Better insulin levels.
  • Improvements in mood and stress relief..
  • Helps to keep the brain sharp as you age.
  • Increased bone and muscle strength.
  • Risk of certain cancers are lessened.
  • Less risk of falls.
  • Better sleep.
  • Improvement in sexual health, exercise may lower the risk of ED and improve arousal.
  • More chance of living longer.

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