Exercise is often only associated with losing weight, but it is more than just working to lose a few pounds. Exercising a few times a week can improve your overall health and well-being. Not all exercises give the same results because certain exercises focus on different parts of the body. Exercise and physical activity can be classified into four categories: endurance, strength, flexibility, and balance. Each type of exercise is different; however, many activities fit into more than one category. It is common for people to focus on one type of exercise or activity, but including all four types of exercise into your workout will give you more benefits. Be sure to mix up your workouts to keep from getting bored and reduce your risk of injury.

Listed below are the four exercise categories and examples of exercises.


Endurance, or aerobic exercise, increase your breathing and heart rate. By doing endurance exercises, you are working to keep your heart, lungs, and circulatory system healthy while improving your total fitness. Over time your endurance level will increase which will make everyday activities seem easier. Examples of endurance activities are: dancing, swimming, playing tennis, swift walking or jogging, biking, and yard work (digging, mowing, etc.)


If you want to build up your muscles, then strength exercises are right for you! Strength exercises are also called “strength training” or “resistance training.” Even the slightest increase in strength can make a huge difference in your ability to carry out everyday tasks. Developing strong muscles and bones can reduce your risk of weak bones and slouching. Examples of strength exercises are lifting weights and using a resistance band.


The purpose of flexibility exercises is to stretch your muscles and help your body stay limber. This allows for more freedom of movement for other exercises and for everyday activities. Flexibility exercises also have the ability to improve your range of motion, posture, ability to breathe deeply, and circulation. Also, it alleviates the muscle tension that is caused by stress. Examples of flexibility exercises are shoulder and upper arm stretches, yoga, and calf stretches.


Completing balance exercises helps prevent falls. These exercises are especially important to older adults because it helps them stay independent. Most good balance exercises that can help maintain balance are ones that keep you constantly moving with your feet on the ground. Examples of balance exercises are heel-to-toe walking, standing on one foot, and sitting down in a chair and standing up without using your hands. Also, several lower-body strength exercises can help you improve your balance.

Always consult your physician before beginning any exercise program. For more information or to find a physician, call 996-WEST or visit www.medicalwesthospital.org