We all want to be healthy and fit, this is the main reason why we choose exercises or programs that will help achieve these goals. But which one suits our body and lifestyle? Check out some of this physical fitness below and see for yourself if it suits you.
If you are able to move your muscles and joints through full range of motion easily you have flexibility fitness. This is one of the types of physical fitness that often gets overlooked.
Everyone should do exercises or movements to stay flexible on a daily basis. Having good flexibility is very important in…
- Preventing injury to any area of the body
- Decreasing pain
- Increasing your energy level
- Maintaining independence as you age. Such as being able to bend and tie your shoes, pick up items from the floor or turn your head to shoulder check while driving.
- Maintaining good balance and coordination
We lose a flexibility slowly over time and may not even notice until we make a simple move and wind up hurting ourselves.
Maintain your flexibility by stretching all your major muscle groups on a daily basis. This includes your neck, back, abs, shoulders, hips, thighs, and calves.
A basic stretching program should take no more than 10 minutes per day. You don’t have to do it all at once.
It’s good to warm up briefly before you stretch. Make sure not to bounce or push to pain while stretching. When you reach a position where you feel a slight pull hold it for 30 seconds.
If you have any musculoskeletal problems a physical therapist can help design a flexibility program to meet your needs.
Women with osteoporosis should learn the precautions for this condition.
For fun ways to stretch consider…
- Participating in a martial arts class
If you are just starting out, begin slowly with easy poses and lower hold times (10 seconds). Progress gradually.
If you feel at all unsteady you may be unfit when it comes to having good balance. We tend to lose our balance a little at a time as we age. The more inactive your lifestyle the more likely you will develop balance issues.
Wondering just how fit your balance is? Try standing on one leg with the other foot off the ground. (have someone with you if you’ve been feeling unsteady). Time how long you can stay in this position before having to put your foot down.
Holding for 21 seconds is considered normal for women 50 – 59 years old. 10 seconds is good if you are between 60 and 69 years of age. For women over 70 average balance is maintaining the position for 4 seconds.
If you can’t do the one leg stand at all you are at greater than average risk of having a fall. See a physical therapist for an evaluation and balance improvement program. Falling is the most common cause of injury in people over 60 according to the center for disease control.
If you scored average for you age you can maintain your balance by…
- Doing yoga
- Practicing Tai Chi
- Working out on exercise balls
- Doing simple balance exercises at home on your own
- Staying active with aerobic exercise and strength training also helps maintain balance.
Now that you have knowledge of the different types of physical fitness and what the benefits to exercise are, there’s just one more thing you need to do…
Begin. The only types of exercise or activity that will help are ones you do on a consistent basis.
Don’t try to do everything at once. Decide if you want to begin an aerobic exercise program, strength building routine or workout to improve your flexibility and balance.
Choose one or two areas and work to integrate them into your life over the next 3 months or so.
Once they are a natural part of your life you can add more.
If numbers motivate you, undergo physical fitness tests to get a better idea of where you are starting from. Then keep a fitness log to track your progress.
But don’t just think about the different types of physical fitness – do them.