There are four types of fitness that are important to incorporate into your physical activity routine:
- Cardiovascular/aerobic exercise
- Anaerobic exercise
- Joint flexibility
- Muscular endurance and strength
Cardiovascular exercise is any type of exercise that increases the work of the heart and lungs. Typical forms of cardiovascular activities include walking, jogging, step aerobics, swimming, and biking. Cardio activity improves your heart/lung function and muscle mass; it’s a lot about endurance and is often called cardiovascular endurance.
When I am coaching novices on getting their sprint on, I ask them to imagine a blood thirsty Rottweiler (not to pick on Rotties) trying to take a gash out of their hamstring – run like that. Or as a sign I recently read said, “Run like you stole something.” That is what it means to run anaerobically. You can’t do it for long. Why? Because training anaerobically means training without oxygen. Anaerobic exercise is defined as short duration, high intensity exercise lasting anywhere from merely seconds up to around two minutes. After two minutes, the body’s aerobic system kicks in. Examples of anaerobic exercise are ones that use fast twitch muscle fibers such as jumping and sprinting. By using and developing those fibers we enhance that musculature.
Flexibility is about your range of motion and is required in your daily activities such as walking, bending, lifting, driving, etc. Stretching and yoga help achieve greater flexibility; stretching also helps with good posture and can reduce the risk of injury.
I like to think of flexibility (and balance) exercises as being versus doing- like the woman in the photograph.
Muscular Strength and Endurance:
Muscular endurance is the ability of a muscle or group of muscles to repeatedly exert force against resistance. Performing multiple repetitions of an exercise is a form of muscular endurance, as is running or swimming
Muscle strength is the ability to exert a maximal amount of force for a short period of time. In the gym, that may be bench pressing a heavy barbell 5-8 repetitions.
Think about lifting that heavy box when moving – that requires strength