Is exercising your new year resolution? Are you one of those who have not been able to stick to a daily exercise routine? Do you think exercising once in a while is enough for maintaining good health?
The truth is, regular exercise is one of the best things you can do for your overall physical and mental health. Apart from keeping you active, young, in shape, and managing your weight, exercise prevents a range of diseases and other health problems. With the COVID-19 outbreak, it’s become even more important to exercise regularly for improved immunity and overall strength.
Types of Exercise
While there are tons of different exercises and workout routines available today, it is important for you to pick the right one. Understanding the different types of exercises will help you make an informed decision.
Endurance or aerobic exercises: These activities keep your heart, lungs, and circulatory system healthy. Examples include brisk walking, jogging, swimming, and biking.
Balance exercises: As the name suggests, these exercises help improve your balance and strengthen your core muscles, lower back, and legs. Tai chi, one of the ancient Chinese exercises, helps older adults in improving their balance and lowers their risk of falls.
Strength, or resistance training: These exercises primarily make your muscles stronger. Lifting weights and using a resistance band are common examples of strength training.
Flexibility exercises: Doing yoga can improve your flexibility and stretch your muscles.
How to Incorporate Exercise Into Your Daily Life
Finding time to exercise regularly or daily can seem difficult to many, especially with limited access to gyms, parks, and fitness centers during the pandemic. Here are some practical tips to help you get started:
Find ways to exercise at your computer desk while working from home. Stretch your neck, shoulders, and back from time to time to beat fatigue and stress.
Opt for a standing desk or choose to ‘walk and talk’ during office calls, whenever possible.
Prepare for your exercise or workout routine in advance. Keep your shoes, clothes, equipment, etc., ready in advance, for e.g., the night before. If you wish, sleep in your gym clothes so you’re already motivated to exercise the following morning.
Exercise or workout with your partner/siblings/parents/neighbors/friends. Group exercises and workout sessions keep you going and help bring in the required discipline.
Do Household Chores and Other Physical Activities Count as Exercise?
Household chores such as cleaning, gardening, walking your dog, etc., are counted as exercises. Getting up from your desk and taking a walk every one hour, that counts as exercise too. The key is to stay physically active and to incorporate movement into your day.
Other daily tasks and activities that count as exercise include:
Playing with your kids at home
Climbing the stairs
Washing your car
Going to the supermarket
In other words, all calories expended outside of exercise, eating, and sleeping are known as Non-exercise Activity Thermogenesis (N.E.A.T or NEAT). It ranges from, the energy used in performing yard work, doing agricultural tasks, to fidgeting. The slightest of physical activities increases the metabolic rate and is counted as your daily NEAT.
No matter what you do, ensure to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day. Now that you know what exercises to do and how to fit them into your routine, let’s look at how much exercise you need, depending on your age and health.
How Much Exercise Do You Need
Toddlers (aged 1 to 3 years) require 60 minutes of physical activity (in the form of playing) every day.
Preschool children (aged 3 to 5 years) are required to stay physically active for around 120 minutes every day.
Young children and teens should get at least 60 minutes or more exercise every day.
Adults require a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity per week.
Exercising regularly is equally important for all. Remember, most of the things you do for fun and work, count as exercise. If you wish to imbibe this practice into your routine life, start slowly and gradually increase your time, intensity, and complexity of exercises.
Do not attempt to copy or imitate an exercise routine or workout session that is available online, before understanding the proper technique, its risks, and complications. Take guidance under a certified trainer in case of gym workouts.
Consult your general physician to understand how much to do and what to do, in case you have chronic health conditions.
1. Topics, H., 2021. Exercise And Physical Fitness: Medlineplus. [online] Medlineplus.gov. Available at: <https://medlineplus.gov/exerciseandphysicalfitness.html> [Accessed 4 January 2021].
2. Publishing, H., 2021. 5 Of The Best Exercises You Can Ever Do - Harvard Health. [online] Harvard Health. Available at: <https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/5-of-the-best-exercises-you-can-ever-do> [Accessed 4 January 2021].
3. National Institute on Aging. 2021. Four Types Of Exercise Can Improve Your Health And Physical Ability. [online] Available at: <https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/four-types-exercise-can-improve-your-health-and-physical-ability> [Accessed 4 January 2021].
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