What Types of Physical Exercise Are There?

Physical exercise is important as the body needs to move because it is made to do so, says Yolanda Escalante, in her editorial for the Revista Española de Salud Pública.
What Types of Physical Exercise Are There?

Last update: 17 February, 2023

There are countless different types of physical exercises. However, the frequency of physical activity is decreasing every day in today’s societies, especially among children, despite the wide range of types of physical exercise available.

The sad part about this situation is that it makes a sedentary lifestyle an increasingly common habit. If we add to this the dietary and nutritional problems that culturally invade today’s populations, we have as a result the exponential increase of diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, obesity, and metabolic syndrome, among others.

What is physical exercise?

In the previously mentioned editorial, the author recovers a classic definition of physical exercise. Here, it’s important to mention that we can talk about types of physical exercise when we’re looking at an activity that implies a corporal action elaborated by the skeletal fibers that generate an energetic consumption superior to the one that exists in the state of the rest of the body.

Escalante, the author, assures that it’s because of the previous definition that health professionals indicate the following suggestions to carry out different types of physical exercise on a weekly basis, depending on the different age groups:

  • Infants and adolescents (between 5 and 17 years old): A minimum of one hour daily of aerobic exercise. In addition, a minimum frequency of three times a week of physical activities that help to invigorate the locomotor system is recommended.
  • Adults (between 18 and 64 years of age): A minimum of 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic physical exercise or two and a half hours of moderate physical activity per week, the ideal scenario being a combination of these two suggestions.
  • Senior citizens (from 65 years of age onwards): The same recommendations apply to adults between over 65 years of age. In addition, to prevent falls and optimize balance, three more days of physical activity per week should be added, regardless of the types of physical exercise performed.

The frequency of physical activity is decreasing every day in today’s societies, especially among children.

Learn about: 14 Exercises for People with Limited Mobility

What are the types of physical exercise?

The reasons for choosing in favor of or against this or that physical activity are often very varied. However, it should be kept in mind that different types of exercise promote health in different ways.

To stay healthy and, in turn, stay in good shape, it’s advisable to perform some combination of the three types of physical exercise shown below.

Types of physical exercise for flexibility

We recommend that you take a few minutes to perform some of these exercises every day. Otherwise, you may increase the risk of injury and joint stiffness, which could also decrease your ability to move.

With this type of physical activity, all essential muscles are stretched, both upper and lower body.

Types of resistance or anaerobic exercise

Los tipos de ejercicio físico incluyen el de resistencia
The dynamism and diversity of resistance exercises make them the preferred choice of many.

One of the reasons for doing this type of physical activity is based on maintaining a healthy weight. This is because muscles, even at rest, burn more calories than inactive tissues.

Additionally, these types of physical exercise help to give the body a more invigorated look and improve posture. This methodology involves moving the muscles against some type of resistance, hence the name.

Types of aerobic physical exercise

Aerobic physical activity not only optimizes physical fitness, but also keeps the lungs, blood vessels, and heart healthy. Optimal health and a healthy weight can be maintained by combining these types of exercise with a balanced diet.

Any activity that raises your heart rate, uses oxygen, and leaves you slightly out of breath is considered aerobic exercise.

The health benefits of physical exercise

Today, different types of physical exercise can help reduce the likelihood of metabolic, cardiac, or respiratory diseases.

However, little has been studied on the benefits of physical activity in areas such as general brain activity, school performance, or socialization, according to the article published in the Journal of Social Studies.

School performance

Studies suggest that the practice of physical exercise over a long period within schools has advantages in academic performance. This is especially with respect to other children who don’t engage in physical activity.

On the other hand, there’s also an indirect benefit: the fact that children leave the classroom reduces boredom and improves their attention levels when they return.

Exercise and socialization

Los tipos de ejercicio físico favorecen las habilidades sociales
Regular physical activity favors socialization processes. This is one of its main benefits.

Likewise, physical activity is often due to the strengthening of psychosocial factors. This has to do with issues such as responsibility, incorporation of social guidelines, companionship, and respect for others.

Another study cited indicates that young people who practice martial arts exhibit greater social skills than average.

General benefits for the brain

Once again, the article argues that physical activity helps to preserve the sensory and cognitive function of the brain. In turn, it highlights that physical exercise could be optimal for the treatment of patients with depressive disorders.

Physical activity helps preserve the brain’s sensory and cognitive function in a better condition.

Like this article? We think you may also like to read: Back and Neck Stretching Exercises

Types of physical exercise as effective for anxiety

An article published in the Revista Cubana de Investigaciones Biomédicas states that patients diagnosed with stress who undergo various types of weekly physical exercise usually decrease exponentially the levels of anxiety, depression, and burnout syndrome.

In addition to psychological factors, physical activity has an impact on the autonomic nervous system. In this way, it prepares it for external factors that may cause anxiety. According to another of the studies cited, regular aerobic exercise helps reduce heart rate and blood pressure in stressful situations.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • International Journal of Clinical and Health Psychology, Vol. 8, Núm. 1. Bienestar psicológico y hábitos saludables: ¿están asociados a la práctica de ejercicio físico? España 2008; 185-202.
  • Revista Cubana de Investigaciones Biomédicas, vol. 36, Núm. 2. Relación entre ansiedad y ejercicio físico. Cuba 2017.
  • Revista Española de Salud Pública, Vol. 85, Núm. 4.  Escalante, Yolanda. Actividad física, ejercicio físico y condición física en el ámbito de la salud pública. España 2011.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.