There are benefits to exercise and benefits to specific types of training. It is good to mix up your workouts since variety is needed for wellness. The need to balance cardio, strength, and mobility workouts has combined benefits of:
- Improved general fitness
- Fat loss
- Efficient muscles
- Better sleep
- Reduced risk of injury
Let’s look at and define each of these three types of training.
Cardio or cardiovascular exercise is any rigorous activity that increase heart rate, improves endurance, and improves oxygen efficiency. It increases the blood flow throughout the body while using large muscle groups repetitively.
Examples of cardio are brisk walking, running, swimming, biking, playing tennis, jumping rope, etc.
Strength training increases muscle size and power. It improves muscular fitness. It uses resistance and repetition to overload the muscles.
Example of strength training are bodyweight exercises like push-ups, pull-ups and sit-ups. It also includes lifting with weights such as squats, bicep curls, overhead press.
Mobility exercises help joints, tendons, and muscles remain flexible and allow them to reach their full range of motion. Think of functional movements used throughout the day: sitting in a chair, walking, carrying a bag of groceries.
Lifting weights works on mobility. Mobility also includes stretching. Examples of stretching are: touching your toes, slowing bending at the waist from side to side and front to back, deep knee bends, rotating shoulders, and wrist and ankle rolls.
Balance also helps mobility. Exercise examples are standing on one foot, or forward and backward lunges. Since mobility naturally decreases with age, keeping up with mobility can decrease injury.
An analogy I like is thinking about exercise as food on a plate. Strength training is the main dish. Cardio and mobility are the side dishes. That can be interpreted into:
- Two to three days strength training
- Two days cardio
- One day mobility exercises
Since the body needs variety, include cardio, strength, and mobility workouts for improved general fitness.