There are four types of fitness:
- Cardiovascular fitness,
- Anaerobic fitness,
- Joint flexibility, and
- Muscular strength and endurance.
Ideally, you should be including an exercise modality in your fitness routine that helps to promote the achievement of each one of these areas. In this article, we’ll give you an idea about the types of exercises that you could be including in your routine in order to reach your goal of being physically fit and healthy.
As the name suggests, ‘cardiovascular fitness’ means that your cardiovascular system – in other words, your heart and lungs – need to be fit. How you achieve increased levels of this type of fitness is by elevating your heart rate while you exercise.
One of the best ways of achieving cardiovascular fitness is by taking part in regular spinning classes. In this type of class, you are on a stationary bike and the instructor gets you to do various drills. Sometimes you will need to increase the resistance on your bike together with pedalling faster. This makes your cardiovascular system work harder. However, we strongly advise that if you do decide to start spinning that you take it slowly to begin with. This is because if you put too much pressure on your heart and lungs too quickly you could very well end up doing irreparable damage.
The term ‘anaerobic’ means ‘without oxygen’. This means that ‘anaerobic exercise’ means ‘exercise that happens in the presence of no oxygen’. Practically speaking, anaerobic exercise is when a person performs exercise at such a high intensity that lactate forms. This type of exercise is used by athletes – in non-endurance sports – to promote speed and power.
Examples of anaerobic exercises are:
- Isometrics, and
- High-intensity interval training.
Exercises that promote joint flexibility are designed to increase the range of motion in joints. You want your joints to be flexible because if they are not you could be facing diseases such as:
- Joint swelling
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Rotator cuff tear and/or tendinitis
Pilates and Yoga can help with improving joint flexibility.
Muscular strength and endurance
This is quite self-explanatory. ‘Muscular strength and endurance’ is about increasing the strength and endurance of your muscles. When this happens, you are able to lift heavier weights and increase the amount of lean muscle mass in your body. In addition, weight training can also help with increasing your bone density which will help you in later life with warding off diseases such as osteoporosis.
What happens to muscle fibres during exercise – especially weight training – is that they tear microscopically. (This is a natural body process so don’t worry that you’re doing damage to your muscles that can’t be reversed.)
As the main component of muscles is protein, they need this nutrient in order to rebuild themselves. However, the trick is that the body doesn’t store protein. As soon as it uses what it needs it excretes the rest. This means that if you’re embarking on a hectic weight-training routine you need to increase your amounts of protein so that your body has enough protein in it in order to perform the re-building process properly.
There are many ways that you can up your intake of protein. The best way to do this is by increasing the intake of protein in your diet. Opt for foods that have a high level of protein – such as eggs, lean chicken breasts and tuna. Avoid fatty cuts of meat as these will have increased levels of trans fats in them which are detrimental to your health.
If you don’t have time to fix yourself a post-workout protein-rich meal, there are a number of great-tasting protein shakes that are available on the market. One of the most widely available is whey protein which contains a protein that is a derivative from the cheese-making process. However, if you are lactose intolerant there are a number of other options that you can try, such as casein protein.
There are so many forms of exercise that can help you to become physically fit and healthy. Remember that the key is to choose exercises that you like because if you don’t, you’ll be less likely to stick to your routine.