Exercise Types

When people hear the term exercising, they automatically associate it with weight loss. Tell them that 70-80% of weight loss is actually dependent on diet and suddenly no one wants to work out at all. Exercise has so much more to offer than just weight loss. It is great for de-stressing, it helps you sleep better, it improves your posture, brain and heart health, you'll live longer and it makes you feel better - endorphins! Who doesn't want all that? Read on to know more about the three types of exercises for health benefits.

Aerobic Exercise

Any low to moderate intensity exercise sustained over a long period of time would qualify as aerobic in nature. With aerobic exercise, oxygen is carried through your breath to your muscles to provide them with energy to sustain the effort. Cardiovascular (cardio) exercise falls under this bracket. The cardio exercise targets range is 55-70% (moderate intensity) and 70-85% (high intensity) of your safe maximum heart rate (MHR).

In the aerobic exercise lasting 10–30 minutes, the energy comes about equally from glucose and fatty acids. After 30-40 minutes of exercise, the body is primarily metabolizing fat from the adipose tissues.

Running (long distance), biking, swimming, and dancing are examples of aerobic exercise.

Health Benefits. Aerobic is probably the most beneficial for your overall health.

  • Improves the quality of life
  • Extends life expectancy
  • Increased stamina
  • Burns fat
  • Improves mood
  • Strengthens heart and lungs
  • Reduces the risk of diabetes.

Anaerobic Exercise

Anaerobic exercise essentially involves shorter bursts of high-intensity training thus exerting ourselves at 84% of our maximum heart rate. It uses no oxygen. This results in a phenomenon known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) which causes the body to continue burning calories for up to 38 hours after your exercise is done.

Anaerobic training helps to preserve muscle mass and keep up resting metabolic rate (RMR) during low-calorie diets. Anaerobic training includes resistance training (free weight, weight machine, and bodyweight exercises), sprinting and jumping.

Since anaerobic activities are short in duration the body is unable to access the fat deposits as fuel and, instead, uses blood sugar and glycogen (a carbohydrate stored in the muscles and the liver). Anaerobic exercise causes lactic acid and potassium accumulation, which can contribute to muscle fatigue.

The examples are bodyweight exercises when using body weight to create resistance, such as jump squats, burpees, lunges, pushups, planks, and crunches.

Health Benefits. Anaerobic exercise builds lean muscle mass resulting in a lean and toned physique.

  • Burn more calories at rest
  • Develop strength and endurance
  • Rise overall fitness levels
  • Lose belly fat
  • Increase growth hormones
  • Reduce a risk of diabetes.

Flexibility Exercise

This is the most commonly ignored group of exercises and quite wrongfully so. Most people link flexibility training with pre (dynamic) and post (static) workout stretching. While there is nothing inherently incorrect about that, there is more to flexibility than that.

Activities such as yoga or pilates combine stretching and relaxation while also improving balance and core strength - a beautiful combination. Yoga or pilates can also be modified to keep your heart rate in the cardio/fat burning zone to reap the benefits of both aerobic and flexibility exercise.

Health Benefits. Flexibility training complements the benefits of other types of exercise.

  • Improve performance
  • Reduce the risk of injuries
  • Increase blood flow to muscles
  • Provide a general feeling of vitality and well-being
  • Increase range of motion
  • Improve balance, core strength and posture.

While formulating an exercise regimen it is important to remember that no one type of exercise is better than the other. The best training program would include all types of exercise: aerobic, anaerobic and flexibility components to reap maximum benefits.


  • Aerobic training: moderate–to high-intensity exercises a minimum of 30 minutes at least 3-5 days per week;
  • Anaerobic exercise: moderate–to high-intensity muscle strengthening activity at least 2 days per week;
  • Flexibility training: 2-3 times a week.

So, now that you know about the exercise types for health benefits, go on, get fit!


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