Fitness

Fitness: 101

Endure, Exert, Balance, Flex, Repeat. NEAT!

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Experts say that well-rounded fitness includes five types of movement: endurance, strength, balance, flexibility, and NEAT, which is how much moving around you do throughout the day. While everyone has a variable NEAT value, most people only do one type of exercise. See how you rate and what you can do to improve.

Endurance

The artist formerly known as aerobics are exercises that up your heart and respiratory rates and make your cardiovascular system stronger. Also good for circulation (goodbye, cold toes!), endurance workouts reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. To change up your cardio, try Zumba or join your kids with a jump rope and hula hoop.

Strength

No longer exclusive to competitive bodybuilders, strength training has important benefits. Increased bone density, muscle mass, and better weight management all come with the territory. Plus, who doesn’t get excited when they can carry all the groceries in at once? Here’s how to begin at home.

Balance

Good balance equals fewer injuries, but balance can deteriorate with age. A tumble down the stairs at age six is fun; not so much at 36 or 66. Practice balance in your down time like while waiting in line, and try tai chi, yoga, Pilates, or agility drills.

Flexibility

One of the biggest factors in your range of motion as you age, flexibility is easy to improve. Stretching at home doesn’t cost anything, and your body has built-in signals to stop you from going too far. Bonus: the same tai chi, yoga, and Pilates that improve your balance also help here.

NEAT

Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis has a big effect on metabolism. NEAT is how much you move—basically everything that isn’t sleeping, eating, or outright exercise. Doing laundry, mowing the lawn, pacing while on the phone, and even fidgeting definitely count. It’s easy to make moving around part of your fitness plan.

If your daily step count is too low and your workouts are becoming less than routine, you can use these tips to jump start (see what we did there?) a new set of healthy habits. They are a few more ways for you to make your health possible.

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