Keeping a decent amount of variety in your exercise routine is not only helpful when it comes to boredom and staying motivated, but it also helps to create a more balanced and well-rounded physique while making sure you are targeting all your major muscle groups.
Starting and getting better in one area of fitness, like yoga, for example, might be motivating and easy to stick to, but you might neglect other important areas. Adding variety to your yoga routine will decrease the chance of bodily imbalances or a weakened muscle group. Curious? Then check out Workouts: 7 Different Types that will Increase Your Fitness!
Your body is similar to any machine, like that of a car. You can’t just solely maintain the engine and forget about all of its other parts. Tires need changing, oil needs changing, breaks need padding, and not servicing these parts can and will lead to damage.
What are the different types of workouts? Now that we’ve clarified the need for variety, we can move on to varieties to choose from. The list below is a great, starting point to work from.
1. Cardio Activities that Include Both Aerobic & Anaerobic
Cardio is usually what most people think of when it comes to exercise and getting active. There are limitless cardio exercises to choose from whether that be walking, cycling, running, swimming, dancing, snowboarding, skiing, and others – so you can be sure you’ll likely be getting your activity in.
Something interesting to think about is that even weight lifting can be a form of cardio. How? Because cardio is just the name of any activity that increases your heart rate while you are doing an activity. However, we will keep it simple and talk about the main cardio exercises that you think of when you hear the word.
2. Steady-State Cardio: Aerobic
Steady-state is cardio that maintains the same intensity level and pace the entire work out. This can be done at any pace and any intensity, as long as it is maintained for the session.
3. Low to Moderate Intensity Cardio: Aerobic
Low-intensity is any cardio that keeps your pulse rate below 50% of your maximum heart-rate like a relaxed walk or a slow bike ride or leisurely rowing on the Waterrower or Concept 2 rowing machines.
Moderate intensity refers to any cardio that keeps your heart-rate in the 50-70% range of your maximum heart-rate. Even during moderate-intensity activities, you can maintain a conversation and not be huffing and puffing between each word. This category encompasses running, biking, swimming, hiking, and numerous fitness classes.
4. High-Intensity & Interval Training (HIIT) : Anaerobic
If you are in the middle of a high-intensity exercise, you can bet that you won’t be able to carry on a normal conversation. Your heart rate will be above 70% of your maximum heart rate, and might feel like you want, or need, to take a break. High-intensity training refers to resistance workouts, sprinting, and High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).
Intervals occur when you break up your workouts into different intervals or time slots. You will usually break them up by time or distance intervals, like 40-second sprints, or 200m sprints.
With this training method, you schedule short rests in between intervals of exercise to catch your breath and lower your heart-rate before you elevate it again. You can follow below for the intensity that matches your fitness level based on the work-to-rest ratio.
- Beginner 1:2- For beginners, one high-intensity interval is balanced by two low-intensity intervals for a decent rest but high pulse maintenance.
- Intermediate to advanced level 2:1- For intermediate to advanced levels, two high-intensity exercises are paired with one recovery interval.
Although we detail this in intervals, you can do whatever works for you and increases your heart-rate while burning calories.
5. Resistance & Weight Training
Weight training has gained a bad rap for girls as most people think it leads to huge muscles and a manly physique. This has been proven false many times and can actually enhance and increase a woman’s curves. You can use weights to gain many benefits of resistance training techniques including:
- Muscular Endurance – The muscles’ ability to sustain the tension of weight training over prolonged time periods. This is somewhat like distance, or endurance, training in cardio, but with weights.
- Hypertrophy – Building and increasing the size of your muscles. When most people think of weight training, this is the result they picture. A chiseled physique and huge muscles.
- Muscle Strength – The level of force exertion your muscles output. You can achieve this through free weights as well as workout machines like this one.
- Cardio Training – Keeping your heart rate up, higher than your resting heart rate, while weight training is a form of cardio. This is a great combo as it allows for both cardio and weight training in one session.
If you’re into yoga, you’re in luck. As it has become more popular globally, many different types of yoga have been popping up. Although these are ancient practices from the Eastern part of the world, yoga is somewhat new to the Western world.
A few different kinds of yoga are hot yoga, Hatha, Ashtanga, and Vinayasa flow. The main focus of yoga is about maintaining awareness and harmony of your body and breath that persists through every movement, every moment of waking life. Bodyweight exercises, stretching, stability, balance, and meditation are what make up yoga.
Many people note their increased awareness, better mental health, more self-confidence, and an overall more positive outlook on life after consistent yoga practice, along with the physical benefits, too.
Founded by Joseph Pilates, this type of exercise is based around bodyweight exercises focusing on controlling your movements, aligning your body, and building your core. Pilates also aids in flexibility, strength, balance, and aesthetics.
This is one of my favourites as it’s one of those workouts that can target your entire body. If you are itching for a class that leaves your sore for days and makes you feel accomplished, try a Pilates class. You won’t regret it!