Spring is the perfect time to step up your physical activity

Fitness. Get into shape by attending to the four basics of physical fitness: endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility. Mixing them up will help reduce boredom and the risk of injury.

02 Mar 2020 | 01:19

Spring is around the corner, and the warm weather will soon be calling us to get outside and get active. Whether you’re getting your favorite perennial beds ready or taking an easy trek on your local hiking trail, it's important to get moving.

The National Institute on Aging stresses the importance of exercise and physical activity, and spring is the perfect season to get started. The four basic categories of exercise and physical activity are endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility. Each type of activity offers different benefits, and doing some form of exercise from each will yield the best results. Mixing it up also helps to reduce boredom and the risk of injury.

Some outside activities fit into more than one category. For example, many endurance activities also build strength. Strength exercises also help improve balance.

Here are a few examples to inspire you this spring:

Endurance

Endurance activities increase your breathing and heart rate. They keep your heart, lungs, and circulatory system healthy and improve your overall fitness. Building endurance makes it easier to carry out many of your everyday activities.

● Brisk walking or jogging

● Yard work (mowing, raking, digging)

● Dancing

Strength

These exercises make your muscles stronger. Even small increases in strength can make a big difference in your ability to carry out everyday activities, like climbing stairs and carrying groceries.

● Lifting weights

● Using a resistance band

● Using your own body weight

Balance

These exercises help prevent falls, a common problem in older adults. Many lower-body strength exercises also will improve your balance.

● Standing on one foot

● Heel-to-toe walking

● Tai chi

Flexibility

Performing these exercises stretch your muscles and help your body stay limber. Being flexible gives you more freedom of movement.

● Shoulder and upper arm stretches

● Calf stretch

● Yoga

Before starting any exercise program on your own, check with your health care provider to make sure they are okay for you. For more information and free resources check out go4life.nia.nih.gov/free.

Source: University of New Hampshire CooperativeExtension: extension.unh.edu