When you were growing up, getting physical activity was easier. Recess was your favorite part of the school day. You rode bikes with the neighborhood kids until dark. You climbed trees. Played sports. Challenged your buddies to a footrace just for the fun of it.

As you got older, life became busier. You took on more responsibilities. You may have had kids of your own. You might spend a lot of time at work. Exercise often falls off your to-do list, but it isn’t as challenging as you might think to squeeze 30 minutes of physical activity into your day (and 60 for your kids). You don’t have to train for a marathon or sign up for a gym membership to get moving. All you need is a little creativity and motivation. When you’re willing to make time for exercise – even a few minutes here and there – the benefits add up.

Not sure where to begin? Let’s start with the three main types of movement and their health benefits.

1. Cardio. Aerobic exercise is any type of cardiovascular conditioning, or “cardiofor short. As for the benefits, well… they’re pretty impressive.

Cardio Benefits:

  • Keeps your heart and lungs healthy
  • Lowers your blood pressure
  • Regulates your blood sugar
  • Improves your sleep
  • Helps manage weight
  • Strengthens your immune system
  • Boosts your mood

Examples of Aerobic Exercise Include:

  • Brisk walking
  • Swimming
  • Running
  • Zumba
  • Jumping rope
  • Bicycling

2. Strength. Strength training is a type of exercise that uses any type of resistance to increase strength, endurance and muscle.

Strength Exercise Benefits:

  • Everyday tasks become a whole lot easier.
  • Your bone health improves.
  • Your metabolism speeds up.
  • Chronic pain becomes more manageable.
  • Your mood improves.
  • You gain more energy.

A common myth about strength training is that it has to involve lifting weights, but that isn’t true.

You can create resistance with:

3. Flexibility. Another example of physical activity is balance and flexibility exercises.

Improving your flexibility can lead to:

  • Fewer injuries
  • Improved posture
  • Better balance
  • Stress relief
  • Greater strength

Some stretching examples to try are:

Getting regular exercise is a lot like eating healthy. It’s important to mix up your exercise routine and find ones that are within your budget, interests and lifestyle. It’s simple: if you choose moves you actually enjoy, you’re more likely to stick with them.
Movement doesn’t have to be boring. It can be an enjoyable way to improve your quality of life by increasing your energy levels, reducing stress and improving your sleep.

Ready to bust a move? Learn more about the benefits of physical activity and get exercise ideas for you and your family. Visit ShapeYourFutureOK.com and get active today!