Local Expert Series: Picking the Exercise Right For You

Categories: Fitness, Well-being

Local Expert Series: Picking the Exercise Right For You

By: Dan Curtis, PT, DPT, MTC

My previous post defined physical activity and exercise, and provided the recommended amount and intensity of physical activity based on guidelines from the World Health Organization (WHO).

In this post, I will discuss different types of exercise that you can perform to achieve the level of activity recommended by the guidelines.

A Variety of Exercises

Aerobic exercise is any activity that increases your heart rate and breathing rate for a sustained period of time.  Running, cycling, dancing, skiing and dancing are all examples of aerobic exercise.  This type of exercise is essential to achieve the health benefits noted in the physical activity guidelines.

Weight lifting is a type of exercise that involves lifting barbells or other heavy weights.  This type of exercise is usually not an aerobic type exercise, and focuses on building strength rather than increasing the heart rate and breathing rate.  This type of exercise can also be performed using machines typically found in exercise facilities.  Machines are a great way for someone just starting with weight training and exercise to perform weight lifting safely.

Interval training is a type of exercise that alternates high intensity activities performed for a short period of time with activity performed at a lower intensity for a longer period of time.  One example is running between a steady pace at a relative lower intensity (usually for several minutes) and fast-paced sprinting (usually for a short period of time such as 30 seconds).

A type of exercise that has become quite popular recently is called high-intensity interval training (HIIT), which alternates between short periods of intense exercise with less intense recovery periods, usually performed to the point of exhaustion.  Typically, a total session of HIIT exercise will be 30 minutes.  While the shorter duration of a session can be appealing, this type of exercise may not be optimal for achieving the health benefits seen with other types of exercise, and are definitely not for a beginner.  And there may be a higher risk for injury compared to other types of exercises.

Choosing What’s Right For You

There are a lot of different types of exercise that can be performed to meet the recommended physical activity guidelines.  Because there are so many options, choose activities and exercises that you enjoy and that you feel safe and comfortable performing.  This is a key factor in being able to maintain your physical activity over a long period of time and lead a healthy life.

Read more here about High Intensity Training.

American College of Sports Medicine

Ace Fitness

About the Author

Dan is the outpatient supervisor for Orlando Health-Health Central Hospital’s Rehabilitation Services department.  He joined the department in 2008 with his responsibilities consisting of patient care and administrative duties.  Prior to joining the team he served in a variety of managerial and supervisory roles.  Dan is responsible for oversight of a department of 10 team members, consisting of a multi-disciplinary staff of clinicians (physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech and language pathologists) as well as front office and support staff.  He is the coordinator of all student interns and volunteers within the department.

Dan has over 16 years of experience as a clinician, the majority of his practice being in the outpatient and sports medicine setting.  During his time with Health Central he has focused on growing programs and services, initiatives focused on quality of care, improving patient access to rehabilitative care, and implementation of an electronic documentation system for which he serves as the administrator.

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