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01 Jun

Understanding different types of exercise

Getting up and moving is the main aim for all of us, but there are different types of exercise which each have specific benefits. Australia’s Physical Activity Guidelines recommend that we all keep active most days of the week, accumulating 150-300 minutes of moderate physical activity (or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous physical activity- see guide for difference) with muscle strengthening activities twice per week.

After remembering that any exercise is better than none, here’s a guide for how different forms can benefit you:

Aerobic exercise

Also known as ‘cardio’, aerobic exercises get your heart beating and your breathing going. Walking, jogging, riding a bike, swimming, dancing, and walking up stairs as classed as aerobic exercises. Regular aerobic activity has numerous health benefits improving our heart and lungs, decreasing the risk for many chronic conditions and aiding with weight management. Try slowly increasing the duration of your aerobic exercise, as sustained efforts producing the most benefits.

Strength training

Often thought as throwing heavy weights around in the gym, strength training often gets a bad wrap- but in reality is just as simple and vital as any type of activity. Strength training is not only necessary to maintain our muscle mass (which decreases as we age) but keeps our bones strong, assists with weight management and helps reduce the stress in our joints.

Starting off with the basics is vital before loading up the weights- our exercise video library has some tools you assist you starting out from home. If you are interested in trying some exercises at a gym or unsure about any of the activities, we recommend speaking to your GP or an exercise professional to help.

Balance exercises

Ensuring we maintain our balance as we age is very important to ensure we keep our coordination and reduce the risk of falls. While keeping active and participating in regular aerobic and strength training will aid, regular balance exercises are recommended.

Even if you already have good balance it’s better to ‘use it so you don’t lose it’. Regardless of age, an eyes closed single leg stand (make sure to be safe and have something to hold onto!) will give everyone a good challenge.

Many activities such as tai chi can assist with improving balance, but it is recommended to work with an exercise professional if think you need some specific work on your balance.


Stretching helps to keep us flexible, which is important for mobility and to reduce the risk of injuries. While stretching alone won’t guarantee you don’t get injured to stop any muscle/joint pain, it is important to aid with joint health.

Ensure that stretching is apart of your regular exercise routine, as it is best performed when your muscles are warm (following exercise). Take note of any specific areas of tightness and spend a few minutes stretching them out. It’s best to work with an exercise professional to understand what stretches will be beneficial, as too much or incorrect types can cause more harm than good.

Moving forward…

  • Any exercise is better than none!
  • Aim to keep active most days of the week incorporating a variety of aerobic, strength and balance activities.
  • Always consult with your GP or exercise professional before starting a new type of activity.
  • Access our free range of articles, videos and classes on Move It NQ to keep you Moving!

Judah Morris
NQSF Program Coordinator

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