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Strength Training and Cardio for Personal Fitness

Physical fitness is an important component of overall health. Not only will it make you look better, but maintaining good physical health is one of the top ways to improve your mood and energy levels. When you work out, you release hormones throughout your body that will not only speed up your metabolism long after you are done exercising but will also make youv feel happier. Exercise lowers stress levels and increases energy levels so you have more drive to do the things you enjoy.

The Importance of Aerobic Exercise for Health

Cardio exercise, or aerobic exercise, consists of activities that raise your heart rate through the contraction of large muscle groups. When your large muscle groups are activated, your heart rate rises in order to get a higher blood flow pumping out to your entire body. Cardio exercises strengthen your heart, which is a big muscle in and of itself. These aerobic exercises also improve the health of your circulatory system by increasing the efficiency with which blood is circulated through your body. Your brain health is also increased through cardio fitness, meaning that you will experience less brain fog and lower your risk of brain-related diseases like dementia and Alzheimer's.

Aerobic training is something anyone can do, as there are so many ways to squeeze cardio work into your daily life. Children often enjoy cardio activities that seem a little less like training and more like playing. Games that involve running, jumping, or climbing are wonderful ways to incorporate fitness into a child's daily life. Teens, young adults, and older adults who are in good health can enjoy a new level of fitness by doing aerobic exercises five days a week. These activities can include running, walking, jumping rope, and many other types of exercise. For senior adults, high-impact exercises may be tough on the joints, so it is often a great idea to incorporate walking or swimming as a form of cardio exercise.

Strength Training 101

Strength training is another great way to improve your overall health. It rarely results in big muscles as seen in advertisements or other fitness media, and it is very difficult to get too "bulky" accidentally. Strength training activates both small and large muscle groups and will help with weight control and balance. It also helps to strengthen your bones, which in turn reduces the risk of fractures, especially as you age. Arthritis symptoms can be drastically reduced with the right strength-training exercises, as the joints increase in flexibility. As we age, muscle mass decreases, but training with weights can help reduce this effect. Strength training can be done a multitude of ways, including with your own body weight, free weights like dumbbells, and machine weights often found in gyms. Any age can participate in strength training of some type. Younger children should not be lifting heavy weights on a regular basis, as it can have a negative effect on their growth, but they can use light weights and do body-weight exercises as often as they wish. The elderly often prefer body-weight exercises. A great plan for anyone at the start of their fitness journey is to mimic exercises that are traditionally done with dumbbells but do them without weights. The elderly population can also sit and do chair-based weight training as a way to prevent injury and not overdo it.