I'm trying to increase my physical activity, but I'm also on a budget. How can I exercise outside of the gym?"
Physical Therapist Richard Szabala Responds:
"Cardio" or aerobic exercise is defined as any exercise that uses oxygen as its primary source of energy, as opposed to anaerobic exercise, which uses glycogen as its primary energy source.
Exercises that are aerobic generally involve high-repetition, low-resistance activities, such as walking, jogging, biking or swimming.
Stop-and-go sports, such as tennis, are a hybrid of both aerobic and anaerobic activities, as you are using high energy bursts for a short duration over an extended session. For example, you may run hard for 30 seconds to a minute on a point, but a match can last for over an hour. Stop-and-go sports therefore train both systems.
Yoga and pilates are generally stretching and isometric activities that are not considered aerobic, but offer other benefits to your body.
The United States Department of Health recommends a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise a day to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The exercise can be anything: walking, swimming, tennis, etc., but it should be something that you like to do. If it is something you enjoy doing, you will be more likely to stick with it, and it could become a lifelong hobby for you.
The key to exercising is having fun. One of the best and cheapest forms of cardio exercise is walking. Find a nice park near your home to enjoy nature, or just walk around the neighborhood and visit your friends. It's cheap, it's easy, and it's healthy for your heart.
– Richard Szabala PT, OCS
Richard Szabala is the senior physical therapist at AthletiCare Orchard Park.
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