Regular exercise is key to maintaining good health as there are myriad benefits to a fitness regimen There are different types of exercise which can essentially be broken down into three categories – aerobic, strengthening, and stretching.

Aerobic exercise includes a number of activities such as walking, running, bicycling, using an elliptical or a stair master, and swimming.  Aerobic exercise improves your cardiovascular system, builds endurance and stamina, and can help reduce the risk of many diseases. Strengthening exercise carries with it a two-fold benefit.  It strengthens the muscles and also strengthens the bones and stimulates bone growth, which is important later in life to help prevent or cope with osteoporosis. Weight lifting and resistance bands are examples of activities that strengthen these areas. Stretching improves your flexibility and enhances your ability to move, including better range of motion with your joints, and also helps with your balance.

There is no one size fits all when it comes to an exercise program and as you embark on a physical fitness regimen you need to assess what works best for you and the areas you need to focus on.  Your exercise program can be structured, such as a regular program of going to the fitness center, or non-structured, which includes activities in your day to day life such as working around the house or the yard.  More often than not, your program will be combination of structured and non-structured activities, the sum of which add up to your personal physical fitness level.

Many people focus too much on aerobic exercise at the expense of strengthening and stretching, which will ultimately catch up with you in some shape or form.  This is important since as we age, we lose muscle mass and flexibility, thus strengthening and stretching becomes more important by an order of magnitude of later in life.  When designing an exercise program, take all of the above factors into consideration. If you need help putting one together, seek assistance from someone who is well-versed in these aspects, such as a trainer.

Remember, just as you have personal and professional goals, you should also have fitness goals.  A personal fitness plan is not optional, it is mandatory. If you are not exercising regularly put yourself in an action mode.  Schedule it as part of your regular routine, adhere to it, and ditch the excuses.

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