What types of exercise can I do?

There are three types of exercises we recommend for Optimal Health: aerobic exercise, strength training, and lifestyle exercise:

Aerobic exercise such as walking, running, and bicycling, among other activities, burns calories and helps strengthen your lungs and heart. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercises at least three days per week. You don’t have to do all 30 minutes at once; you can exercise throughout the day in 10-minute sessions that up to your daily 30 minutes. Some examples of light to moderate-intensity exercise include gardening, walking, tai chi, yoga, tennis, dancing, and hiking.

Strength training involves lifting or pushing a weight or load. The idea is to gradually increase the weight as you get stronger. Muscles adapt quickly and develop best when they’re continually challenged. You should strength train all of your major muscle groups 2 to 3 times per week.

Lifestyle exercise allows you to increase your activity level through day-to-day activities, such as shopping, cleaning, going to work, or taking care of your home and garden. Set a goal of 30 to 45 minutes of lifestyle exercise each day of the week. A few ways to increase your lifestyle exercise are as follows:

  • Use your feet. Whenever you can walk or ride your bicycle instead of driving, and always take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator.
  • Park farther away. It’s an easy way to get in a few extra steps.
  • Take bathroom breaks. Instead of using the one closest to your desk or office, walk to one that’s farther away.
  • Have a walking lunch. Even if you only get a half hour for lunch, you can enjoy a quick walk around your office building to feel more alert and focused in the afternoon.

No matter the type of physical activity, always be sure to drink plenty of water, warm-up and cool-down, and stretch before and after.