Let's breakdown the basic workout routine for life into 5 elementary categories of exercise.
The Basic 5 Categories of Exercise
- Strength training- Building up your strength comes in three categories: weight, power, and endurance. Most of us are familiar with strength training with weights. Even this type of strength training can vary. Let's start by breaking this down.
- When you weight lift, you have a variety of exercise plans or programs to choose from. I enjoy a mix that builds both fast-twitch and slow-twitch muscle fibers and everything in between. Fast-twitch muscle fibers help with lifting heavy weights and explosive movements like punching, for example. Slow-twitch muscles help with endurance strength training. High reps., multiple sets, low weights train more slow-twitch muscle fibers; high weights, low reps and fewer sets train more fast-twitch muscle fibers.
- Power strength training involves explosive movements that focus on exerting as much force as possible in a small amount of time. The famous, "six-inch punch" is a great example of this. Certain aspects and kinds of martial arts are great in helping to train explosive movements.
- Endurance strength training involves mostly slow-twitch muscle fibers and could be trained in certain sports as well as many Chinese martial arts that include forms as part of their training.
2. Cardio exercises- These are exercises targeting raising the heart rate and improving blood circulation as well as other bodily functions. These kinds of exercises are normally done 2 to 4 times a week for 20 to 30 minutes and sometimes seek to reach a target heart rate. There are many ways to do cardio and I find having a variety of exercises keeps me engaged. This includes interval training when I can once a week which helps keep the heart healthy and happy.
3. Agility/Coordination- Agility exercises help train the body to move quickly and easily. They generally do not need to be practiced as frequently as cardio or strength unless you are training for a sport or competition. Different agility exercises are jumping, skipping, some martial arts and dancing as well.
4. Balance Testing and Training- This involves using your whole body as close to equally as possible and being able to stay on your own two feet. A couple of years back, I ran across a series of balance testing exercises in a health magazine. You can go through tests like this a couple of times a year, but these are very basic. To increase your balance, you can try fun activities like skating, dancing, and certain martial arts to name a few.
5. Flexibility- Flexibility exercises involve muscle stretching and loosening. There are two kinds of applications of this type of exercise I can think of: Warm-up and cool-down exercises before and after major workouts, deep stretching and loosening of muscles using specific exercises that target certain muscles.
Bringing It Together
There are basically 5 kinds of exercises you can incorporate into your schedule. These are strength, cardio, agility/coordination, balance, and flexibility. There are three types of strength training: weight, power, and endurance. There are basically two types of flexibility training: warm-up and cool down, deep stretching and loosening.
Taking It Home With You
Do you have a regular exercise schedule incorporated into your daily life? Which category of exercises do you do well in and which category do you need to improve and how? Overall, how effective is your basic workout routine for your life?