The 4 Fitness Categories That Should Be Part of Your Workout Plan
Updated: Nov 30, 2021
You already know that your body requires regular exercise to be healthy ... but are you incorporating a balance of the four fitness categories that Health Professionals encourage?
Physical activity is a spectrum of moves that target your body with individual benefits, and each kind of workout you do is beneficial to your health. However, to make the most out of the time you spend exercising, you should consider how each of these fitness categories fits into your workout plan. Together, they are the key to whole-body wellness.
What are the 4 fitness categories you should be incorporating into your fitness routine?
Let's dive into why each of them are important and how you'll benefit from them.
How can you improve your cardiovascular system?
Cardio workouts are growing in popularity these days due to how thoroughly they get your body moving and how fun they can be. Aerobic exercises use oxygen and encourage blood circulation while burning off a substantial amount of calories.
This category is an extremely wide range as most physical activity stimulates breathing and heart rates to sustainably increased levels. If performed at the correct intensity, running, swimming, dancing, walking, skiing, skating, biking, rowing, or jumping jacks can all count. There are plenty of indoor cardio machines like ellipticals or treadmills that are also included as aerobic activities. Light-to-moderate intensity is the goal here.
How can you strengthen your muscles?
Proper muscle conditioning helps make you stronger and involves a slightly higher level of intensity than cardio workouts. If your goal is muscle growth, then you should include around three sessions of twenty-minute strength workouts every week. Exercises are based on resistance and increase heart rate, burn fat, and aid in maintaining a healthy body.
Any body-weight workouts can fall into this category, as well as digging, climbing, squats, lifting weights, sit-ups, lunges, running, and some sports. A lot of adults fall behind in this category so it’s important that you make an active effort to include these exercises weekly.
How can you build stronger bones?
Nobody wants to be at risk of osteoporosis so exercises that strengthen your bones can be a quick form of resistance. Weight-bearing exercises are extremely efficient and if able, the higher the impact, the better. Muscle strength will also increase, meaning these moves double for both categories, and your coordination will be improved as a result.
It’s natural if you’re a bit confused on where to start with this category but likely you already have some of these activities in your fitness routine. These can include hiking, jogging, jumping rope, climbing stairs, certain sports, dancing, and greater impact aerobic exercises. Try doing some of these a few times weekly as well.
How can you get more flexible?
Stretching is sometimes overlooked but is so very important in muscle preservation and efficient training. Your overall body movement will improve if you stretch a couple of times a week and prior to working out. Focus on stretches that target different parts of your body like calf stretches, glute stretches, abdominal stretches, and tricep stretches.
If you're not too keen on prolonged discomfort, then you can also include stretching-based activities. These can be things like yoga, Pilates or gymnastics.
Joe Rindone, NCPT is a certified personal trainer and the Founder of Inspire Fitness Studio in Arlington, MA. Joe's passion for fitness has motivated him to become one Greater Boston's best personal trainers. An athlete throughout high school and college, Joe has always enjoyed being active. Currently he enjoys road races, working with his boxing coach, kettlebell training and getting out for a round of golf in his spare time.