The Art of Balance for Exercising

Create a balanced workout routine to stay fit.

Before you start working out, it's important to create a balanced routine. It can prevent injuries, reduce strains, and help you reach specific fitness goals. The American Council on Exercise recommends including three things to achieve a balanced workout: aerobic exercise, strength conditioning, and stretching or flexibility. Here is why you need all three components and the best ways to incorporate them.

Why You Need Balanced Workouts

The American Council on Exercise explains that you need aerobic exercise, strength conditioning, and stretching or flexibility to have a safe and effective workout. Aerobic exercise benefits your cardiovascular system and may help you lose weight. Strength conditioning is important for balance and posture. Stretching can decrease injuries and improve your range of motion.

Aerobic Exercises to Try

Aerobic exercises you may want to try include:

  • Walking
  • Running
  • Dancing
  • Jumping rope
  • Hiking
  • Swimming
  • Kickboxing

Whether you prefer to swim or want to dance, make sure you vary the intensity of the aerobic exercises. The American Heart Association suggests doing aerobic workouts for 30 minutes per day for at least five days per week. Some of the benefits of doing this type of workout are lower blood pressure, weight management, lower risk of heart disease, and better lung function.

Strength Conditioning Exercises to Try

Strength conditioning exercises you may want to try include:

  • Lifting weights
  • Kettlebell workouts
  • Push-ups
  • Pull-ups
  • Burpees
  • Lunges
  • Squats

You should do strength conditioning at least twice a week or more often if you have specific goals. Experts recommend doing several sets of at least 10 different exercises that include all the major muscle groups. The benefits of strength conditioning are weight maintenance, better bone density, stronger muscles, better balance, and lower risk of injuries.

Stretching or Flexibility Exercises to Try

Stretching or flexibility exercises you may want to try include:

  • Hamstring stretches
  • Shoulder stretches
  • Triceps stretches
  • Forward bends
  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Tai chi

Every workout needs to include some type of stretching, but make sure you warm up before doing it. It's best to wait to do these exercises after your regular workout is over because your muscles will be warmer and more flexible. Try to hold each stretch for 10 to 30 seconds, and don't overstretch. One of the greatest benefits is the improvement in range of motion.

Consider Getting Help

Combining aerobic exercise, strength conditioning, and stretching or flexibility isn't easy. If you're struggling to do all three, then consider hiring a personal trainer at a gym. A fitness trainer can help you create the perfect workouts and make sure you don't get hurt in the process.

Before you start any new workout, talk to your doctor. This is especially important if you have a history of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, joint problems, or other health issues. You may need to modify some exercises.