Type of Exercise

Continuous, low-resistance exercises (e.g., biking) train the heart and muscles to use oxygen more efficiently. To choose the best exercises for you to perform, consider the following:

  • Training is exercise specific; e.g., run to improve your run time.
  • Exercises that involve several muscle groups and are weight bearing will require the greatest amount of Calories to perform.
  • Exercises that you enjoy the most are the best exercises for you.
  • Alleviate boredom and decrease your risk for injuries by alternating the types of exercise you perform, i.e., cross-train.
Table 5-1. Examples of Aerobic Exercise

Aerobic Classes

Group setting, variety of levels

Work at your own pace; ask instructor prior to class for any tips.


Low impact, good for cross-training

Bike at 70 rpms, with a slight bend in knee to best work the quadriceps muscles.

Climbing (Stairclimbing)

Weight bearing

Uses major muscles of lower body; weight-bearing (by not leaning arms on machine); Rock climbing strengthens upper body, too.

Cross-country Skiing

Low impact, good for cross-training

Uses most major muscle groups.

Jumping Rope

Can be performed in small quarters

A fast pace mimics running; wear good shoes and avoid cement surface.

Martial Arts

Group setting

Popular; many classes focus on flexibility, strength, and relaxation.


Low impact

Works most major muscle groups.


Minimal gear required

High impact, alternate with other exercises.

Swimming, water aerobics

No impact, can be a group setting

Uses most major muscle groups; great as a primary, cross-training, or rehab. exercise.


Low impact, minimal gear

Uses most major lower body muscle groups; weight-bearing.

There are several variations to these basic types of exercises, such as kickboxing, treading, and spinning.

There are several variations to these basic types of exercises, such as kickboxing, treading, and spinning.


For overall health and general fitness benefits, and to avoid overuse injuries, alternate the types of exercises you perform, i.e., cross-train. Cross-

training allows you to build a good aerobic base while avoiding overuse injuries caused by the repetitive motions of a single exercise. Engaging in a variety of activities (e.g., alternating between running and swimming) uses different muscle groups.

For performance-related fitness, strategies to enhance your speed for activities that require fast, short-duration sprints (like soccer) are presented in Table 5-2.

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