Types of Exercise for a Balanced Life

When you think of exercise, we all imagine something different, because we are all different! You may imagine strenuous activities such as sprinting or weights — the ones that make you breathe hard, turn flush and drip with sweat. Or maybe you think of jogging or yoga. There is not only one type of exercise, and it is critical for boosting fitness to include multiple types of exercise so you healthy doesn’t become one dimensional. There are actually 4 types of exercise that are important for everyone to include: aerobic training, strength training, balance training, and flexibility training.
4 exercises image
Each type of exercise is important in its own way, and doing all four types is the way to maximize your fitness and prevent injury. But maybe people think they know what they are, some may even have not heard of the term aerobic. Here is a brief overview of what these are and their benefits to them.

 

Aerobic exercises; such as running, swimming or dancing, are activities that work your cardiovascular system — they get your heart rate up and make you breathe harder. Aerobic literally means “relating to, involving, or requiring free oxygen”, and refers to the use of oxygen to adequately meet energy demands during exercise via aerobic metabolism. This type of exercise can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure, and may even lower the risk of cancer

 

Strength exercises; such as weight lifting, push-ups and crunches, work your muscles by using resistance (like a dumbbell or your own body weight). This type of exercise increases lean muscle mass, which is particularly important for weight loss, because lean muscle burns more calories than other types of tissue. Whether you’re 100 lbs overweight or just need to lose the last 15, strength training is one of the most effective ways to burn fat and build muscle.

 

Balance exercises improve your ability to control and stabilize your body’s position. This type of exercise is particularly important for older adults, because balance gets worse with age. But balance exercises can be beneficial for everyone, including people who have gained or lost a lot of weight or those who become pregnant, which can throw off your center of gravity. These exercises are also important for reducing injury risk. For example, if you sprain your ankle, you could be at risk for reinjury if you don’t retrain your balance.

 

Flexibility exercises stretch your muscles and may improve your range of motion at your joints. They can improve your flexibility, and reduce your risk of injury during sports and other activities. There are two types of flexibility exercises: static stretching, in which you stretch a muscle without moving, and dynamic stretching, which combines stretching with movements. So the biggest benefits from stretching is improved flexibility, reduce of injury, and reduced lactic acid in the muscles.

 

Ideally, you should include all four types of exercise in your workouts. But that doesn’t mean you have to do four separate workouts. You use some exercises together, like strength and balance training. For example, when you squat, you do strength as well as balance. Some workouts, such as yoga, incorporate strength, flexibility and balance exercises. It does depend on age and goals of the individual, but you should really try to do all four types of exercise in a training session.

 

*Always Proud, but Never Satisfied*

 

~Luke

 

 

For more on these types of exercises, check out these links:

 

Aerobic: https://www.livescience.com/55320-aerobic-exercise.html

 

Strength: https://www.livescience.com/55324-strength-exercise.html

 

Balance: https://www.livescience.com/55321-balance-exercise.html

 

Flexibility: https://www.livescience.com/55325-flexibility-exercise.html

 

 

I’m on tonight, you know my hips don’t lie

I’ve spent years idolizing the way Shakira can shake and shimmy her hips, so I finally decided to learn how to do it myself.

Ah, belly dancing! I was a little scared to try it, but it is so much fun. Don’t get me wrong, the moves are anything but easy. When you’re introduced to a move you can hardly believe your body is capable of moving like that.

However, it is so rewarding when you finally get the hang of “isolating your upper abs” from the rest of your body or shimmying so fast you feel like you’re going to take flight.

If you’ve read my story about Pilates, you know I am always on the lookout for new, fun workouts.  I actually stumbled across free belly dancing classes online while looking for new Pilates videos. I watch the “Guide: Belly Dancing 101” videos Howcast.com, a website that streams a variety of how-to videos, to learn individual moves. The introductory text on this video reads, “Do you want to shake it like Shakira?” My answer to that was, “Heck yes!” I was immediately hooked.

Once I master the moves, I scoot over to freebellydanceclasses.com. An instructor named Tiazza Rose leads most of the videos, and she is incredibly talented. She makes videos that incorporate hip hop, Zumba and just about anything else into the ancient art of belly dancing. I also like doing the belly dance workout titled “Flex Appeal,” which can be found on Youtube. This video is a little more basic, but it’s great for beginning learners.

Not only does belly dancing give you confidence, but it is also a great workout! The morning after, my love handles scream they hurt so bad. This comes from the hundreds of hip drops, pivots and shakes I do during a workout.

 Belly dancing can improve your health in seven ways:

  1. It can improve muscle tone– regular and consistent belly dancing requires the movement of the legs, arms and just about every muscle in between.  This leads to an improvement in overall quality of tone.
  2. It can help strengthen your core– the moves required in belly dancing automatically create a strong core. A stronger core means fewer back problems, and a greater posture.
  3. It promotes flexibility– learning how to belly dance means flexing and stretching muscles you’ve probably never used before.  Increasing flexibility decreases risks of injury and makes moving in general a little easier.
  4. It burns fat and calories– while belly dancing includes the movement of the hips, arms, legs and core, it also an aerobic activity. The combination of these elements creates the burning of calories, shedding fat and building muscle tone.
  5. It reduces stress– men and women who belly dance are often said to be bitten by the “belly dance bug.” This bug transfers into a constant outlet for stress because it’s a workout you don’t spend dreading all day.
  6. It increases self esteem– once the graceful and flowing movements are mastered, you learn to feel more in tune and at peace with your body. This promotes confidence and a sense of content with your appearance.
  7. It increases joy– when the art of belly dance is learned, your muscles naturally become more toned and strong. This also helps aid in daily confidence and self esteem.

The only have one recommendation for someone who is just starting out with belly dance- give yourself some time. I would often become discouraged when my body wouldn’t move like the instructors I was watching, but it takes a lot of time and effort to build that flexibility.

 Like I said before, your body can’t do most of the moves naturally. You have to train your brain how to move specific parts of your body that have previously been neglected. As long as you have patience, you will master this beautiful, eloquent art form.

Good luck, and happy belly dancing! :]

 ~Remember, you have to learn to love yourself before you can truly love someone else~

Abbey :]

YOGA for Men!

To a lot of guys, the word “yoga” means, girls, hippies, and yoga pants. We often view it as something girls do and if a male does it, he is not masculine in some way. I was not one of these guys, but I was still a little skeptical about what yoga really was and how a class is actually done. I am a big proponent of “Don’t knock it till you try it”, so I decided to give it a try before I really formed an opinion on it. Of course, part of my male bias kicked in so I made my workout buddy come along with me.

Let me tell you, Yoga is NO JOKE.

We came into the class with an open mind, thinking we would be able to handle the class pretty easily. We are both pretty athletic and strong so we didn’t think it was going to be too difficult.

We were wrong.

The class started off easy enough, doing basic stretches and warming up the muscles you were getting ready to use. Then it became difficult as we moved into some stability and balance exercises. My hips, calves and shoulders were on fire as we stood on one leg with our shoulder held straight out for what seemed like hours. As soon as you thought you were going to stop and could relax, you had to move into a new position that was even more challenging then the last.

The last part of the class was what I enjoyed the most. The instructor, Emilee, turned down the lights and had us just relax. Now I know what you’re thinking… NAP TIME!… but this was not a time to just fall asleep. You were supposed to lay there and listen to your body. This might sound REALLY corny, but hear me out on this.

I have had some pretty bad shoulder pain for the past few months now. Physical therapy and exercises help a little bit but I have never gotten it to fully go away. Part of this meditation period was to listen to your body and focus on healing the part of your body that is causing pain. So, I focused on my shoulder, and soon enough, I could just feel my shoulder melt. It was amazing to feel no pain in my shoulder for the first time in a while.

Overall this experience I had was awesome. After the class your body feels so good and you just feel relaxed.

When I talked to Emilee after class and was shocked to find out that in a normal 20 person class, she will have only 3 males. This needs to change guys! Yoga is a good way to stretch out all the muscle you have pounded with weights all week and start your rest period in a positive way.

So guys, put down your He-Man Muscle pride and try a Yoga class, and you may turn into a repeat customer like I will be.

Warhawk Fitness Group Fitness Schedule

Kevin Nelsen
Warhawk Fitness PR Team