When we think about exercise, we often picture ourselves doing high-intensity workouts that make us want to collapse to the floor after we’re done. Long-distance running, sprinting, strenuous biking, kickboxing – if it makes you drip with sweat, that’s the workout you want to do, or so you may think. However, aerobic exercise is only one type of fitness training that should be only one part of a solid fitness program. A well-rounded workout plan that incorporates different types of training is the best for your health. There are four different kinds of workouts that can increase your fitness level if done properly and with injury prevention in mind.
1. Aerobic Activity
Aerobic training is one of the most popular workouts and includes any exercise that increases your heart rate and breathing substantially. This type of training is usually done for longer than 15 minutes at a time and uses rhythmic action for the entire period. Examples include biking, running, walking, and swimming.
Aerobic exercise is important to include for your overall health as it strengthens your cardiovascular system and keeps your heart healthy. It can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and help you fight other diseases. Aerobic exercise can be easily overdone, however, if not properly planned. Many people start out too intensely when it comes to aerobics, packing on too many miles for runs or starting out too fast and hard. Gradually increasing your speed and distance of aerobic activities are key to preventing overtraining.
Most people are at highest risk of injury when it comes to aerobic exercises. This is due to the intensity of the workouts, the stress put on the body, and doing it improperly. Not taking adequate breaks, not listening to your body, and starting out at a high intensity instead of gradually increasing intensity all contribute to injury and overtraining. Some aerobic activities are safer than others when it comes to injury-risk, such as walking and swimming over running. However, these activities still prevent injury-risk if you don’t do them properly.
2. Strength Training
Strength training, considered anaerobic exercise, is often broken down into two subtypes of training – dynamic strength training, also known as isotonic exercise, and static strength training. Dynamic strength training uses full-range of motion and usually includes weight training and calisthenics. Resistance is the most important part of strength training, whether it’s using weights or your own body. Examples of dynamic strength training include sit ups, bench presses, and leg presses.
Static strength training is also known as isometric exercise and is a great way to maintain your muscle strength. It’s used mostly for toning and maintenance, while dynamic strengthening is used to build muscle. In static strengthening, you either hold a position or push against an immovable object. Examples include planks and push-ups.
Both dynamic and static strength training are essential to incorporate into a well-round fitness program. With strength training, you’re preparing your muscles to account for stress of holding your body weight, whether that’s during exercise or just every day living. By strengthening your muscles, you’re giving your joints and tendons the necessary support to move correctly. Correct movement is what helps you avoid injury.
Although strength training is essential for preventing injury, you can also injure yourself while doing it if done improperly. To avoid injury, you need to ensure that you’re alignment, posture, and positioning are correct. You also need to focus on breathing as holding your breath can contribute to fatigue, loss of proper movement, and increase your risk for injury. To ensure that you’re doing the exercises properly, it’s a good idea to learn from an expert on how to do them and how much.
Balance exercises are often incorporated into other types of training, but it’s important to focus especially on these as a separate part of your workout. They include those exercises that engage your core and most often require you to stand on one foot. Yoga is a great workout for challenging your balance in a variety of postures that require you to stand on one foot and even both feet. Balance is essential for proper movement and alignment, as well as strengthening your core. They improve your ability to control how you move and stabilize your body. Without balance, you increase your risk of an acute injury due to falling or tripping.
The most important thing to remember when it comes to balance exercises is that if you need assistance you should use it. Balance comes with time and practice. You may think you can stand on a balance ball with one foot, but if you don’t have the strength yet, you’re putting yourself at a high risk of falling. If you’re not ready to stand on one foot, use a chair or the wall to help stabilize you until you’ve gained the necessary strength and practice to do the advanced version of the exercise.
You may not know it, but flexibility training is one of the most important parts of a training program. Flexibility training is also more commonly referred to as stretching. It not only helps build a strong foundation for your overall fitness, but it also helps improve mobility and limit soreness. Researchers found that stretching, although not necessarily effective in injury prevention, provide great benefits for sports that involve bouncing and jumping. Range of motion and mobility are essential for injury prevention, especially in sports that require the muscles and tendons to respond quickly. With proper warm-ups that include stretching to improve flexibility, you’re giving your muscles a greater chance to respond efficiently and effectively to the stress of exercise. So, not only are you improving your range of motion, but you’re also improving your athletic performance. Some added bonuses are that it also helps your balance, posture, and breathing.
Flexibility and stretching may have a role in injury prevention, but if done improperly, could increase your risk for injury. To avoid putting yourself at risk of injury, make sure you do dynamic stretching during your warm-ups. Dynamic stretching prepares your muscles for exercise through warming them up. It also increases your flexibility and range of motion. Static stretching should only be done when you are fully warm to avoid straining your muscles. It’s also important to remember to not overdo it when it comes to stretching. You should never feel strain and you should still be able to breathe fully while stretching. If you feel intense strain or you’re unable to breathe freely, you should dial back the stretch.
Putting Together A Workout With The Different Training Types
Knowing the types of workouts and actually putting them together as a plan are two different things. It’s easy to know what you should do, but when and how are more difficult. It requires thoughtful and intentional planning. For optimal training, it’s beneficial to enlist the guidance of an expert that can help you put together a workout that will help you achieve your fitness goals. Each person is different when it comes fitness level and goals – what’s right for a competitive athlete might not be right for a weekend warrior. Knowing where you are right now and where you want to be are essential for putting together a solid workout.