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Splashing, wading, and paddling — it must mean a great day in the water. Playing at the beach, at a water park, by a lake, or in a pool can be a real treat on a hot day. Swimming is a lot of fun, but drowning is a real danger.

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HelpGuide uses cookies to improve your experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. Privacy Policy. For many of us, even when we understand how much regular exercise can improve our mental and physical health, the real challenge lies in developing an exercise routine that we can stick with.

The most effective exercise plans should include a mix of three elements : cardio or aerobic training, strength training, and flexibility and balance exercises.

This will not only maximize the health benefits, it will also keep your workouts varied and interesting. These simple guidelines can help you make the most of your time and reap all the health and weight loss rewards of regular exercise. The important thing to remember about exercise is that something is always better than nothing. By simply sitting less and moving more throughout your day, you can experience health benefits.

What are the best exercises for me?

For substantial health benefits, though, government guidelines in the U. At least minutes 2. At least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise per week will deliver the same benefits, if your fitness level allows you to work out harder. That means running for 15 minutes, for example, instead of walking briskly for 30 minutes. You can combine both moderate- and vigorous-intensity exerciseremembering the general rule of thumb that 2 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise is the equivalent of 1 minute of vigorous-intensity activity.

Include muscle-strengthening activity at least twice a week as part of your weekly totals. You can gain additional health benefits by exercising for minutes or more at moderate-intensity or minutes or more of vigorous-intensity exercise each week.

This can be especially beneficial for weight loss.

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Instead of 30 minutes of walking 5 days a week, for example, start with 5 or 10 minutes and build up from there. A recent study in the UK found that people who squeeze all their exercise into one or two sessions over the weekend experience almost as many health benefits as those who work out more often.

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However, spreading your exercise sessions across three or more days a week may help reduce your risk of injury and keep your energy levels up throughout the week. Walk at a moderate-intensity pace for one minute followed by jogging at a vigorous-intensity pace for one minute, then back to brisk walking for a minute, and so on.

Or, you could alternate brisk walking with skipping rope or doing push-ups. Alternating intensity in this way not only delivers cardiovascular benefits but can help you to squeeze a better workout into a shorter period of time. And as long as your doctor has cleared you to safely exercise this way, it can also help you lower your blood pressure, lose weight especially around your middleand maintain muscle mass. Interval training can also be a great way to vary your workouts and challenge your muscles in new ways.

What it is: Cardiovascular or aerobic exercises are endurance activities that use your large muscle groups in rhythmic motion over a sustained period of time.

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Cardio activities include:. Cardio workouts can also:.

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Walking briskly for just 22 minutes a day will help you to reach your minimum weekly goal of 2. You just have to resolve to get up and go. Look for creative ways to fit a brisk walk into your daily schedule. Use a walk to clear your head. Use the time to take a break from the stressors of everyday life and give yourself some precious alone time. Fresh air and some time to think can work wonders for your mood. Or make it a social event and walk with others.

Think a single type of exercise will take care of all your needs? these tips can help you build a comprehensive fitness plan to improve your health and waistline.

Invite friends, family members, or work colleagues to walk with you. Taking a walk can provide a great opportunity to catch up with an existing friend or strengthen the bond with a new one. Enjoy time in nature. Walking in parks, on beaches, or along hiking trails or riverbanks can add to the mood boost you experience from exercising. Walk in a mall or on a treadmill. Walk a dog. Instead of focusing on your thoughts, focus on how your body feels as you move.

Notice the sensation of your feet hitting the ground, for example, or the feeling of the wind or sunlight on your skin, or the rhythm of your breathing. What it is: Strength training, sometimes called resistance or power training, builds up muscles with repetitive motion using resistance from free weights, weight machines, elastic bands, or your own body weight. Power training is often strength training done at a faster speed to increase power and reaction times. Aside from improving how you look and feel, resistance and power training can also:.

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Exercising the major muscle groups—legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms—in to minute sessions twice a week is enough to deliver and help keep you toned and strong. Neither do you need to invest in a gym membership or buy expensive equipment for use at home. There are even plenty of exercises you can do using your own body weight as resistance.

Many of us equate exercising our core with endless sit-ups and unobtainable images of washboard abs. But your core is much more than just your abdominal muscles. Your core stretches from below your breastbone down to your thighs and includes your back, sides, buttocks, and hips as well as your abdomen.

A strong core can help you maintain good posture and carry out many different daily movements that involve twisting, bending, or rotating your body.

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Everything from getting out of a chair to carrying heavy groceries or reaching for a book on the top shelf are all made easier when you have a strong core. As well as abdominal crunches, activities that are particularly good at targeting your core include yoga, Pilates, swimming, beach volleyball, kayaking or canoeing, rollerblading, surfing or stand-up paddle boarding, using a hula hoop, or performing perhaps the most popular core exercise, the plank. Flexibility exercises that lengthen and stretch muscles also help to:. Balance exercises can help to improve your posture and reduce your risk of falling as you get older.

Fitness experts advise against stretching before you exercise when your muscles are cold. Rather, stretch only once your muscles are warmed up or after your workout, as part of your cool-down routine. As well as the meditative and relaxation benefitslow-impact practices such as yoga, Pilates, and tai chi are great for improving flexibility and balance.

While there are differences between the forms, each offers plenty of options for the beginner and seasoned practitioner alike. An ancient exercise practice that involves performing different postures and poses on an exercise mat, there are many different types of yoga that can help with flexibility and balance as well as strength and stamina. In addition to the popular types, there are yoga classes modified for different needs, such as prenatal yoga, yoga for seniors, and adaptive yoga modified for disabilities.

Most yoga sessions begin with a series of poses to warm up the body, and most sessions end with some type of relaxation exercise. Not for: Anyone with high blood pressure, heart conditions, or those who may react adversely to hot conditions. Like yoga, Pilates can be performed on a mat as a series of low-impact movement patterns, although it most commonly involves the use of resistance machines.

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A typical Pilates routine includes exercises that promote posture, balance, flexibility, and core strength. Most routines can be tailored according to your strength and fitness levels. Tai chi. Focusing on a series of slow, precise body movements that flow from one pose to the next, tai chi is a very effective exercise for balance, especially in older adults looking for a safe and gentle exercise.

By moving weight from one leg to another, and alternately raising the arms, legs and hands, tai chi varies the weight on different ts, increasing flexibility and range of motion and improving balance and coordination.

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And by focusing your mind on your movements and breathing, you keep your attention on the present, which clears the mind and le to a relaxed state. While you can learn these exercises online, from an instructional book, video, or app, the best and safest way is to learn from a competent instructor. Committing to a regular, balanced exercise schedule is one of the best things you can do to improve your physical and mental health. Nothing can derail your fitness goals quicker than a medical problem or avoidable injury.

Get medical clearance from your doctor before starting an exercise program, especially if you have a preexisting condition. Warm up.

Cool down. A light jog or walk after a run, for example, or some gentle stretches after strength training. Drink plenty of water. Listen to your body. If you feel pain or discomfort while working out, stop!

Sitting for extended periods of time has been linked with numerous health concerns, including elevated blood pressure, high blood sugar, more body fat, and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. No amount of willpower is going to keep you going long-term with a workout you hate. For more on making exercise enjoyable and staying motivated, see How to Start Exercising and Stick with It. Stretches for Exercise and Flexibility — Stretches that focus on different parts of the body. American Heart Association.

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Weight training exercises — Illustrated tips on starting a weight training program. Mayo Clinic. A strong core: The simple, flexible, and portable workout — Simple core exercises you can do at home or in the office. Harvard Health Publishing. Core-strength exercises — Core workouts for you to try at home. Cookie Policy. These tips can help you build a comprehensive fitness plan to improve your health and waistline. What are the best exercises for me? How much exercise do I need?