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Chapter 9. Exercise > Types of Exercise

Types of Exercise

Exercise represents one type of physical activity. In general, physical activity includes all kinds of movement—from cleaning your house, carrying bags of gro ceries, mowing your lawn, and rocking a baby to the more structured workouts we associate with exercise or playing a sport. Exercise generally refers to physical activities performed intentionally to improve physical fitness or to control weight. Physical activity occurs because you need to get something done that requires movement and energy. But in reality all physical activity could be considered a form of exercise. Let's consider the different types of exercise. Physical activity can be divided into three broad categories: aerobic, anaerobic, and low-intensity exercise.

Table 9.1. The Cumulative Benefits of Regular Exercise
  • Improved sense of well-being; decreased depression

  • Lowered anxiety and muscular tension

  • Greater ability to handle domestic and job-related stress

  • Increased endorphin production (endorphins are the body's natural painkillers and mood elevators)

  • Decreased production of stress hormones such as adrenalin and cortisol

  • Improved concentration and productivity

  • Increased metabolic rate, leading to decreases in setpoint and easier weight loss

  • Quicker recovery from acute stress

  • Less fatigue; more energy and stamina

  • Higher levels of HDL relative to LDL cholesterol in the blood

  • Stronger heart muscle that works more efficiently

  • Reduced blood pressure and resting heart rate

  • Improved cardiopulmonary functioning; lower risk of heart disease

  • More restful sleep

  • Fewer physical complaints in general; boosts in immune functioning

  • Better self-image and more self-confidence

  • A more attractive physique; improved muscle-to-fat ratio



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