Trilliums in Northern Ontario
Northern Ontario



Easy as Health - Health Information for a Better Life

The Three Types of Physical Activity

Endurance Activities, try for 4-7 days a week

Endurance activities help your heart, lungs and circulatory system stay healthy and give you more energy. They range from walking and household chores to organized exercise programs and recreational sports.

Here are some examples to get you thinking about how to increase your endurance activities:

golfing (without a ride-on cart)
yard and garden work
propelling a wheelchair ("wheeling")
continuous swimming

Playing It Safe

For endurance activities, begin with light activities and progress to moderate and vigorous activities later, if you like. (This will prevent or minimize any muscle soreness you might experience when you are starting out.)

Use comfortable footwear that provides good cushioning and support.

Wear comfortable clothing that suits your activity - and the weather!

Wear safety gear approved by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) whenever appropriate (e.g., a helmet for cycling and in-line skating, along with knee, elbow and wrist protectors; protective eye goggles for squash).

Flexibility Activities, try for (4-7 days a week

Flexibility activities help you to move easily, keeping your muscles relaxed and your joints mobile. Regular flexibility activities can help you to live better, longer, so that your quality of life and independence are maintained as you get older. Flexibility activities include gentle reaching, bending, and stretching of all your muscle groups.

Here are some ideas to help you increase your flexibility activities:

  • gardening
  • mopping the floor
  • yard work
  • vacuuming
  • stretching exercises
  • T'ai Chi
  • golf
  • bowling
  • yoga
  • curling
  • dance

Safe Stretching

Start with five minutes of light activity (easy walking, etc.) beforehand, or do your stretching after your endurance or strength activity.

Stretch slowly and smoothly without bouncing or jerking. Use gentle, continuous movement or stretch-and-hold (for 10-30 seconds) whichever is right for the exercise.

Aim for a stretched, relaxed feeling - avoid pain, don't hold your breath, and breathe in a natural rhythm.

Seek help from a fitness professional or get a good book on stretching if you're not sure what to do.

Strength Activities, try for 2- 4 days a week

Strength activities help your muscles and bones stay strong, improve your posture and help to prevent diseases like osteoporosis. Strength activities are those that make you work your muscles against some kind of resistance, like when you push or pull hard to open a heavy door.

To ensure good overall strength, try to do a combination of activities that exercise the muscles in your arms, mid-section, and legs. Strive for a good balance - upper body and lower body, right and left sides, and opposing muscle groups (e.g., both the front and back of the upper arm). Here are some ideas to increase your strength activities:

heavy yard work, such as cutting and piling wood
raking and carrying leaves
lifting and carrying groceries (not to mention infants and toddlers!)
climbing stairs
exercises like abdominal curls and push-ups
wearing a backpack carrying school books
weight/strength-training routines

Safe Strength Training

Start with five minutes of light endurance activity and stretching at the beginning of each session.

Learn proper technique to protect your back and joints from undue stress.

Use light weights and high repetitions (2-4 sets of 10-15 repetitions of each exercise).

Breathe regularly when doing an exercise - don't hold your breath!

Rest for at least one day between strength-training sessions.

Get help from an experienced leader or consult a reputable book for more information.



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