Exercise for the Mind and Body

Exercise is one of the best ways to keep both your mind and body healthy. Not only can it relieve emotional stress and ease tension, but it can also improve your overall health and wellbeing. Among some of the best types of excise for your mind and body include cardio workouts, workouts that focus on flexibility, core workouts, and workouts that focus on strength. Below is a more in-depth look at each of these types of exercises and how they target your body.


Cardio exercise comes in many different forms — from running/jogging to cycling, swimming, and even using gym equipment such as the stair master or elliptical. There’s no specific cardio exercise that is “best”, as it’s all about finding something that’s comfortable to you and your body, and something you enjoy doing as well.

Cardio is a rhythmic activity that is focused on larger movements to engage more of your muscles. In addition, cardio also helps you burn fat and calories, which helps with weight loss, improves your lung capacity, and improves the strength of your heart so that it doesn’t have to work as hard in order to pump blood, which can ultimately help reduce your risk of things like heart attack, diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol — and, the great thing about cardio is that you don’t need to engage in workouts that are of high intensity. As little as 15 to 30 minutes of cardio can benefit your health in a variety of ways. As they say, a little bit goes a long way.


Flexibility exercises are great as they help the body become more supple. They also provide your muscles with improves range of motion and can improve your balance, which can help in your everyday activities. It’s recommended that you do flexibility exercises after other types of workouts while your muscles are still warm so as to avoid any stiffness and pain. However, if you’re only doing flexibility exercises, then it’s recommended that you first warm up your muscles by doing a few minutes of walking. Doing flexibility exercises without first warming up your muscles could potentially result in muscle injuries, so this is something you want to be careful of.

Types of flexibility exercises include things like stretching, yoga and pilates. When engaging in these types of exercise, always make sure your movements are slow and smooth, and make sure you’re breathing properly. When it comes to stretching, you should be able to hold it for anywhere from 10 to 30 seconds and then repeat the stretch anywhere from 3 to 5 times. As your body gets used to these stretches, you should start to be able to hold them for longer periods of time. If you feel a slight pulling sensation as you stretch, this is normal. However, if you experience pain when you stretch then this could either mean that you have an injury or are simply stretching too far or holding the stretch for too long and should stop.


Similar to flexibility exercises, core exercises also help improve balance and stability. Every time you move you are using your core muscles — whether you’re walking or picking up a bag of groceries. The core muscles are what allow you to twist and bend, as well as provide support for your spine.

Along with improving balance and stability, core exercises also help to train the muscles in your lower back, pelvis, hips and abdomen, and help them worth together effectively and efficiently. Examples of common core exercises include sit-ups and planks, as well as exercises utilizing a fitness ball and standing leg crunches. It’s typically recommended that each core exercise you do be performed for at least 45 seconds, with 15 seconds of break-time in between each.


Strength training is great as it can increase bone density (therefore reducing your risk of things like osteoporosis), protects your bone and muscle mass, and makes you overall stronger and fitter. It can also help you maintain your weight and help you lose weight, along with increase your metabolism and help you burn calories. It has also been known to reduce symptoms of a variety of chronic conditions, including things like arthritis and back pain, diabetes, and depression.

Common choices for strength training include lifting free weights (such as barbells and dumbbells), using weight machines, resistance tubing, as well as things like push-ups and pull-ups, and leg squats.

Originally published at http://alighahary.ca on July 25, 2019.



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