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")
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
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).
Activities, try for (4-7 days a week
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:
- mopping the
- yard work
- T'ai Chi
five minutes of light activity (easy walking, etc.) beforehand, or
do your stretching after your endurance or strength activity.
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
heavy yard work, such as cutting and piling wood
raking and carrying leaves
lifting and carrying groceries (not to mention infants and
exercises like abdominal curls and push-ups
wearing a backpack carrying school books
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
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