The 4 Most Important Types of Exercise + Why Variety is Key

These make up a balanced fitness routine.

By: Emily Freeman

When you go to the dentist, you know you’re going to be told to brush, floss, and rinse your teeth. It’s the basics of proper oral hygiene. You can look at your workout the same way. Any exercise is better than none (i.e., like someone who only brushes their teeth). But to truly experience optimal health, you want to make sure your workout regimen contains all the different types of exercise — cardiovascular, strength, flexibility, and balance. Ahead, learn the benefits of four kinds of exercise, why each one is important, and why adding variety to your fitness routine is key.

Benefits of Exercise 

The benefits of exercise are limitless. Regular exercise can benefit your body on all levels — mentally, physically, and emotionally. Feeling stressed? Exercise can help. Want to build lean muscle or shed a few pounds? You guessed it, exercise. And, the best part? There’s no one-size-fits-all — all kinds of exercises can be beneficial! 

Whether you want to sweat it out or stretch it out is up to you. Read on to find out the different types of exercise and how they can best benefit your body! 

4 Important Types of Exercise 

#1 Cardiovascular 

Cardio exercise is one of the best kinds of exercises to get your heart pumping and blood moving. Think walking, running, rowing, elliptical training, stair climbing, dancing, kickboxing, or HIIT.

Benefits of Cardio Exercises

Cardio is like a super vitamin for your heart health. The American Heart Association recommends incorporating at least 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity into your fitness routine per week.

Cardiovascular exercise has been shown to help lower the risk of type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure, support better sleep and cognition, promote bone health, and promote a sense of well-being. 

Cardio can also be done anywhere, making it one of the easiest kinds of exercise to fit into your schedule and budget. And when you want a little motivation, you can press play on any of the fun and quick cardio routines in the FitOn app. 

Get some cardio in without overworking your joints. This low impact cardio workout will elevate your heart rate and help you burn calories while still protecting your joints.

#2 Resistance  

If you want strong, toned muscles, do not skip the weights. But don’t limit yourself to the weight rack — there are plenty of different types of exercises when it comes to resistance training! Some of our favorites that aren’t traditional weight training include resistance band workouts, Pilates, HIIT, barre, and circuit training

Benefits of Resistance Exercises

While strength training workouts are one of the best types of exercise for sculpting and toning lean muscles, resistance-based workouts offer so much more! Resistance training also helps increase resting metabolic rate, so you burn more calories doing nada, improves physical performance, movement control, and speed, boosts cognitive function, supports self-esteem, and promotes stronger bones.

You don’t need a gym or studio membership to start incorporating resistance exercises into your routine. The free FitOn app has a huge library full of different types of workouts that will have your muscles burning and strengthening.

Ready to try a resistance-style workout? Try this total body band workout with Danielle Pascente. 

This full body band workout consists of combination movements working your upper body, lower body, and core at the same time. You have the ability to choose your intensity. For a more advanced workout, repeat 2-3 times through.

#3 Flexibility 

Flexibility training is something most people love to hate. It can be hard to feel motivated to stretch at the end of your workout and/or your rest day. However, increasing your total range of motion of a joint or group of joints is a vital piece of your fitness routine.

Benefits of Flexibility Exercises 

When you start incorporating flexibility exercises into your daily routine, you will notice the rest of your workouts start to feel easier. Working on your flexibility through regular stretching also helps increase range of motion and thus decreases the chance of injury, improves posture, and can help release muscle tension and soreness. 

You’ll want to make sure your flexibility routines hit all major muscle groups. If you want a little guidance on the best stretches, try this stretch and lengthen class with Jeanette Jenkins. 

Stretching feels so good. This stretch and lengthen workout will help you de-stress, lengthen your muscle fibers from head to toe, and improve the range of motion of your joints. It is packed with stretches to help open the hips and lower back to help you feel great.

#4 Balance 

As we age *cough* grow into ourselves, our coordination and balance naturally decline, making it super important to add stability exercises to your routine. Traditional balance exercises like stability ball squats, single-leg deadlifts, and one-leg balances are super effective. But if you want to shake it up a bit, try different types of exercise like Yoga, Barre, Tai Chi, and dance all help improve your balance and coordination. 

Benefits of Balance Exercises 

By incorporating balance training sessions into your weekly fitness routine, you’ll help build your stabilizing muscles, increase coordination, strengthen and tone your core, reduce the chance of injury, and improve performance in your other workouts. 

Give your motivation to improve your balance a little boost by trying this Balance Challenge with Vytas. 

Push your body to reach its balancing limits in this Balance Challenge. Challenge yourself and your balance as we explore new poses and flows.

Why Variety is Key! 

Your body is multi-dimensional, and your workout routine should match it. A holistic routine is one that will keep your body looking and feeling the best long term. Exercise should be a lifelong habit that incorporates different types of exercise to keep your body agile, fit, and healthy!  

Haven’t joined our community yet? Sign up for free and get access to unlimited free workouts and meditations. From newbie to expert, the FitOn app has a huge library of workouts for all levels. With dozens of workout categories, it’s also a great way to find out what types of workouts work best for you.