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Variety is key to a healthy diet. It turns out, it's also key to a healthy fitness routine.
A well-rounded routine should include a variety of activities that work different areas of your body. A mix also prevents boredom and lowers your risk of getting injured.
Try to include each of these activities in your weekly routine:
1. Aerobic conditioning
Activities that get your heart rate up help keep your heart healthy, boost your mood and positively affect numerous chronic conditions. Exercises include walking, running, biking, swimming, rowing, exercising using an elliptical machine and more.
2. Strength training
When lifting free weights or using your body weight, think whole body, including legs, arms, stomach and back. Strength training helps build muscle, strengthen bones and prevent injuries if done properly. It also can improve balance with repetitive training. You can use free weights or weight machines to perform different strength training exercises, such as squats, chest presses, leg presses, bicep curls and others.
3. Flexibility activities
4. Posture exercises
Proper body alignment not only helps prevent pain and injury, but also can boost your confidence and mood. Improving your posture will likely take time and conscious effort, but the feel-good benefits are worth it. Some exercise ideas include back exercises, core strengthening routines, yoga and Pilates.
5. Balance training
Balance training improves your body's ability to react quickly to everyday missteps, which helps prevent falls. During exercise, balance also helps you move more efficiently for improved performance and injury prevention. Try single-leg lifts or tai chi.
Consistency and safety also play key roles in a fitness routine. Exercise is medicine. Just like medicine, it should be taken almost every day. Think of it as a lifelong activity. Ideally, your week would include at least two days of strength training per week and at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity. Flexibility, posture and balance training can be worked throughout the week.
Finally, consider safety as you exercise. Start slowly and gradually increase time and intensity in your routine. This can prevent injury and build long-term habits.
By Mayo Clinic Health System staff