Getting regular exercise is the cornerstone fitness and an essential component of a healthy lifestyle. And with so many choices of exercise activities available sometimes the hardest part is choosing the best option for you.
This is no small consideration as the capacity to fully enjoy your activity is going to be a major motivator in bringing you back for more. Taking some time to consider the special benefits and details of your potential fitness routine can help you choose a winner that will unlock new worlds of physical capacities.
Whether you are looking to push your limits, save your fragile joints, get along with your progress, or make a social activity of fitness pursuits, we have options for you. In the following article, we will look at the most popular and practical fitness exercises along with their special benefits and main attractions.
These have been specially selected for their scientifically-proven benefits as well as suitability for everyone no matter their age, gender, experience levels, or fitness history.
In addition to being terrific exercise, water play is a fun social activity that attracts millions of land-lubbers to lakes and seashores during the summer. It must be the well-known stress and tension relieving benefits that attract this annual pilgrimage.1
While in the water, the body is suspended in an almost weightless environment, the pressure is completely removed from their usual weight bearing structures. This can be especially beneficial to those suffering from back pains and other discomforts that stem from prolonged efforts in uncomfortable positions. Exercise in a weightless watery world is low-impact and can be used by those suffering from joint conditions as well as elderly folks who have to be careful with these delicate mechanisms.2
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But this doesn’t mean that swimming can’t be used to push the limits of endurance and physical fitness. Taking the time to master the backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly stroke, and freestyle takes a monumental effort and invariably produces that sculpted swimmer’s body we see exhibited on so many Sports Illustrated periodicals.
Special Benefits of Swimming
Low-Impact Physical Activity
Swimming boosts the heart and breathing rate while placing reduced and greatly balanced effort on the muscle systems.
Swimming locations are always full of health enthusiasts and fun seekers. Actually, it isn’t generally safe to swim alone, don’t forget to buddy up no matter what your skill level!
While other exercise routines benefit from some variety, swimming is the complete package all in one and a skill that is progressed interminably to final physical perfection.
From Tai Chi to Capoeira, martial arts are highly-developed systems of movement and posturing that build strength, speed, and physical discipline. The vast array of benefits from martial arts training include physical, mental, and even spiritual progress and limitless fields of improvement in each one.
As a fitness practice, the physical movements and forms engage the muscles systems and joints building strength and flexibility. This makes the practitioner better prepared in the case of a physical confrontation.
But more importantly, the study of martial arts builds mental strength and cultivates discipline. Martial arts training teaches the student to care for the body and this generally leads to healthier lifestyles, diet choices, etc. One study affirmed that martial arts training can improve the quality of life for individuals suffering from disabilities.3
For those looking to make a dedicated commitment to fitness and some beneficial life changes, there’s boxing, taekwondo, karate, kung fu, krav maga, Historic European Martial Arts (HEMA), and so many more.
Special Benefits of Martial Arts
Full Body Workout
Martial arts address the entire body building strength and balance through addressing all muscle groups in coordination.
Through setting goals and achievement through respect for core values, martial arts set a path for discipline and focus.
While it is possible to practice some styles alone, there are many benefits to perfecting these arts with qualified guidance and a classroom environment. Confidence and camaraderie are some of the greatest.4
Choose your Arena
It’s not all rough and tumbles krav maga and MMA, cultivating tai chi mastery or just spinning an ultra-light Bo staff will provide a great workout and a full spectrum of benefits.
Yoga provides a completely original approach to improving fitness, health, and life in general. The term “yoga” comes from the Sanskrit word for yoke, and symbolizes the union of body and mind. In the practice of yoga, yogis learn to harness the power of breathing in every aspect of their practice and their lives.
As a fitness routine, yoga involves practicing a series of poses, or Asanas, while focusing on breathing and maintaining proper form. Even though it sounds easy and is a very low-impact exercise, the practice can be very demanding and there is always a new challenge awaiting.
Beyond physical exercise, yoga also provides special stress relief and has even been studied for its capacity to relieve depression.5 Yoga also helps to control the pain and inflammation suffered from inflammatory conditions and can also relieve headaches and other discomforts.6
Special Benefits of Yoga
Boosts Physical and Mental Health
Yoga’s gentle movements and focused breathing provide a stress-relieving and relaxing route to better health.
Social or Solo
You can choose to practice alone, visit a small yoga studio, or join in with a big crowd of fellow yogis at the local fitness center.
Low-impact but Challenging
Yoga can be gentle enough for those recovering from injuries, but radical and challenging enough to be categorized as an extreme sport. The only limitations are set by you.
It is a common misconception that strength training is only for those experienced athletic professionals who do sports for a living. The truth is that building strength and muscle mass is a great activity for everyone and has special benefits for maintaining a healthy mind and body throughout the aging process.
One of the most important advantages of strength training is that is makes everything you do easier. From week to week, you will notice shopping bags are lighter, you don’t strain when opening the jar of pickles, and you can hoist the garbage can to the dumpster all by yourself.
As time goes by, strength training increases bone mass which can prevent the onset of frail limbs as we get older. Sarcopenia is an ominous term for the reduction of nice lean muscle mass that begins disappearing right after 30.7 Building muscle strength is the best way to avoid this loss and ensure you will still be mobile and capable when you reach 70.8
Special Benefits of Strength Training
Social, Solo, Anytime, Anywhere
Sure the weight selection and expert advice at the gym is nice, but you can also hammer out an effective strength training routine with body weight alone. More weight and fewer reps will build bulk and power, while lightweight and many reps will tone muscles and provide a leaner physique.
Sense of Accomplishment
Strength training pits today-you against yester-you and the results are always inspiring and confidence building.
Improves Quality of Life
Having sturdier muscles and stronger bones allows you to navigate your world effortlessly and confidently.
Final Notes on the Best Fitness Exercises
Even though the exercises mentioned above have been selected for their suitability for healthy individuals of all ages, it is always important to seek medical advice before beginning any committed exercise practice.
If you have been injured or have a history of inactivity, expert advice could save you from strains and pains that come from overexertion. Be sure you seek the most sustainable path to your goals for greater fitness.
Photo credits: SolisImages/shutterstock.com, Kzenon/shutterstock.com, fizkes/shutterstock.com, GoranBogicevic/shutterstock.com