The Four Pieces of a
Balanced Exercise Routine

If you're like me, some kinds of exercise are easy and fun for you...

And some aren't.

I could stretch or walk all day, but getting my heart racing for a good cardio workout--well, I'd rather not.

However, in my research I found the Mayo Clinic recommendations for a "Balanced Exercise Routine" which I'll pass on to you. They are:

Aerobic Fitness
Muscular Fitness
Core Stability


Sounds reasonable, doesn't it?

Whether you're a novice taking the first steps toward fitness or a committed fitness fanatic hoping to optimize your results, a well-rounded fitness training program is essential to achieve overall physical fitness. Alright, let's look at each in a little more detail.

The Nitty-Gritty

Aerobic fitness--yes, that does mean breathing faster and using your large muscle groups, but hey! more oxygen is circulating, and you're breathing more deeply, so your body greatly benefits!

Recommendation: 30-60 minutes most days of the week, even if you break it into 10-minute spurts. So, go ahead, jog up the stairs at work, park at the far end of the lot to shop, take a break to do jumping jacks, whatever!

Side-bar: My writer husband often takes off on his bike for help in composing essays. As soon as he returns, he flips open the laptop and is happily typing away. Works every time! Good for the body; good for the mind.

Muscular fitness--otherwise known as strength training. This is done through resistance--your muscles resist, you don't.

Any movement working against weights (even plastic bottles of water or soup cans) or gravity will reduce body fat and increase lean muscle mass. Result: you burn calories more efficiently.

Recommendation: Push-ups, leg squats, lifting homemade weights..first get moving, later you may want to purchase equipment.

Another way to strength train is plyometrics. Visit Angel's website to find out more. yoga-two-people-silhouette-stretching-cooperation

Stretching--Usually, when you're working out, your muscles are contracting and flexing. In reality, these muscle fibers are tightening up. For balance, it's necessary to also stretch your muscles.

Interested in learning more about yoga? The picture at left links to Yoga Introduction page on this site.


  • increased flexibility
  • improved range of motion of your joints
  • better posture and circulation
  • relief of stress, and
  • prevention of injuries

Recommendation: Do after each of your workouts, when your muscles are warm and receptive to stretching.


Three times a week, if you don't exercise regularly. This will help you maintain flexibility. Good activity choices:yoga and tai chi.

For a peek at yoga postures and breathing, follow this link to the Yoga Benefits page.

Core stability The core? You've heard that bandied about, maybe. What exactly do we mean by your core?

Those muscles in your abdomen, lower back and pelvis! These are essential to support balance and stability.

Abdominal crunches are a classic core workout. You can also try tai chi, or do various core exercises with a fitness ball. Sitting on the ball with good posture is a good start. From there, you can try abdominal crunches and other core movements.

Recommendation:Include each week, two to three times a week. Vary the routine--aerobic one day, core strengthening the other.

An Investment in Your Whole Health

If you think of your body as the car you drive around, you'll want to keep it in good repair. Invest in its maintenance. Work to improve overall health.

Whether you create your own fitness training program or enlist the help of a personal trainer...

...make aerobic fitness, muscular fitness, stretching and core stability part of your overall exercise plan. This is a whole health approach to fitness! Enjoy.

Return from Exercise--balanced routine--to Healthy Aging page.

Head on over to Home page.