Types of Exercise

types of exerciseExercises, sports, games and other physical activities can very broadly be subdivided into:-

1.   Aerobic exercises – i.e. walking, jogging, swimming, cycling, rope-skipping, racket and ball games.

2.   High resistance anaerobic exercises – i.e. sprinting, weight-training and isometric exercises.

3.   Callisthenic exercises – i.e. arm swinging, toe-touching, trunk-twisting, push-ups, chin-ups and sit-ups.

4.   Relaxation exercises – i.e. yoga and tai chi.

Aerobic Exercises

Such exercises are particularly useful for improving and maintaining cardio-respiratory endurance, which is the most important aspect of fitness.

Aerobic exercises are also the most effective exercises for reduction of obesity and are relatively safe if done judiciously.

Anaerobic Exercises

These exercises are particularly useful for significantly improving muscular strength, muscular endurance, muscular power and anaerobic capacity. These are fitness attributes which only selected persons (e.g. young, healthy, competitive athletes) require.

Such exercises have only limited value for improving cardio-respiratory endurance or aerobic fitness, which is the most important fitness attribute for the non-competitive majority. Furthermore, such exercises, particularly isometric exercises, place unnecessary strain on the cardio-respiratory and musculo-skeletal systems.

Callisthenic Exercises

These exercises are particularly useful for improving muscular tone, muscular endurance and the flexibility of joints. These are important attributes of fitness for all.

If done judiciously i.e. with graduated increases in intensity, duration, resistance and number of repetitions, such exercises are relatively safe. To further reduce the risks of orthopaedic problems, it is preferable that flexibility exercises (e.g. toe-touching) be done in a stretch-and-hold-whilst-breathing-freely method, rather than the more commonly practised bouncing or bobbing-up-and-down method.

Contrary to popular belief, callisthenic exercises when done alone and in the usual manner, usually do not expend sufficient energy (i.e. 200-300 calories) to significantly reduce obesity. Callisthenic exercises are, however, particularly useful as warm-up and cool-down exercises for those engaged in more vigorous activities (e.g. aerobic exercises).

Relaxation Exercises

The main values of such controlled movement and breathing exercises are the beneficial relaxation effects on both mind and body.

If done judiciously, such exercises are relatively safe and useful for improving muscular tone, flexibility of joints and muscles, and to a certain extent, the cardio-respiratory system.

Relaxation exercises are useful as supplementary and complementary forms of exercise to other vigorous activities. This is particularly so for the initial stages of the warm-up period and the final stages of the cool-down period.

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