How to Reshape Your Body Though Different Types of Exercise. Where Does Physical Therapy Fit In?
Now that 2019 is upon us I know everyone, including myself, is thinking about getting back into working out in an attempt to develop a healthier lifestyle. Before you begin there are several important factors to take into consideration before you decide what is right for you. There are many different types of exercises all with associated benefits and risks, and it is critical to determine what is most appropriate in order to ensure that you prevent injury but that you reach the goals you set for yourself. Today’s blog post will delve into different types of exercises, along with the associated benefits and risks. We'll also talk about not only how physical therapy can help with preventative care, but how a Physical Therapist can help you develop a plan and maintain the healthy habits throughout the course of your New Year’s Resolution.
Types of Exercises:
While there are many different types of exercises and for the sake of today’s article we will break them into three separate categories, cardiovascular, strength, and hybrid. While I know this is a very simplified categorization it will help you make the right choice.
- Cardiovascular: These are the types of exercises that will train the heart, lungs, and muscles by performing prolonged bouts of a single mode of exercise. This can include things like running, biking, swimming, and walking. These are great for people who are just getting into working out it allows for the development of easy exercise routines. They require low amounts of equipment if any and can be done at any time.
- Strength: These exercises are great for developing muscle either for mass, endurance based strength, or general conditioning, and secondarily benefits of strength based exercises are some cardiovascular endurance. These are the types of exercises that require some level of equipment, either to be purchased for the home, or to have a gym membership. These exercises require instructions and form is incredibly important regardless of how light the weight can be.
- Hybrid: These are exactly as they sound, it is a blending of the cardiovascular and strength. There are several examples of this type of exercise, it mostly focuses on High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), including CrossFit, Orange Theory, and other classes.
Benefits of Exercise:
Cardiovascular - This method of exercise is great for beginners as it can be easily done with little to no equipment and it has the benefits of global health training by also affecting the heart and lungs. The risk of injury is low in the beginning stages of exercise and it can be a great place for people relatively new to exercising.
Strength - This method of exercise is good for people who have some familiarity with exercising. It is great for improving muscle strength and targeting specific muscles that are weaker to develop balance within the body. Strength based exercises do require some form but help develop more muscle fibers which in turn increases the amount of calories you burn at rest. It does require more skill because it can be dangerous to lift even light weights improperly, but with a little training it can be a very beneficial.
Hybrid - This category of exercise has the best of both worlds. Hybrid exercises not only develop strength because you can use weights or body weight and there is a heavy focus on keeping your heart rate up which will burn calories faster. These exercise groups require the most training to perform both with programming and with form because as you fatigue you end up losing form. Once you do master this type of exercise it can lead to the most caloric burn of the three.
Weaknesses and Injuries
Cardiovascular - This type of exercise while is the least cumbersome to perform requiring no weights, and just dedication in terms of time, there are some downsides. The first being that there is little muscle development compared to the other two categories. What instead happens is your heart, lungs, and other organs help facilitate the improvement of endurance. So while you are performing more and more activity the gains are not correlating to caloric burn as much and people can plateau easily. In addition you are risk for developing repetitive stress injuries at within the body, especially in the lower extremities. This can include IT Band Syndrome, Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome, and various other tendonitis as a result of muscle imbalances and lack of cross-training with other types of strength training.
Strength Training - Progressing to a more higher level skill, strength training requires significant amounts of supervision in the beginning due to needing proper form. Without proper guidance there poor movement patterns and habits can develop and prevent the progression of your goals. In addition when developing plans there can be a lot of confusion as to what types of exercises to perform, how frequently to work certain muscle groups, and many other factors. Injuries in this mode of exercise are more likely to be sprains/strains of ligaments and muscles respectively. This can occur with performing too many sets/repetitions or adding too much weight to higher level exercises before you are ready.
Hybrid - This exercise while gives you the most bang for your buck in terms of time spent exercising coupled with caloric burn. However, it does require the most supervision and usually has a high potential for injury in the beginning. These types of exercises usually occur in a class setting and do have an instructor but in a large class there is a potential to be left behind or not corrected as quickly on form. In addition, participating in these classes can cost a significant amount of money and require memberships to begin so if you are not ready you are still obligated to pay. This being a hybrid of both cardiovascular and strength it also carries the added risk of both types of injuries. When performing the cardiovascular portions it can lead to your standard overuse injuries, and you are more likely to strain/sprain your body because of how fast you can perform some of the weight training components or the routines.
Where Does a Physical Therapist Fit In?
A Physical Therapist is a great resource to use both before engaging in an exercise program and during as it progresses and orthopedic issues develop. Physical Therapists are able to perform an evaluation that will help guide you when returning to exercise, whether it is a program you have engaged in before, or starting something new. We will test various aspects of the body including general strength, flexibility, and assess any prior injuries. This will allow you to tailor your choice of exercise regiment effectively in order to properly perform the routine as well as avoid injuring yourself. In the event that you do sustain an injury a Physical Therapist can help address the issue before it becomes too severe. We are well versed in various forms of exercise and can specifically gear your rehabilitation to help you return to participation fast and avoid further setbacks that can limit you when working towards your goals.
A Final Note:
It is important to engage in physical activity as it can lead to benefits for both physical and mental health. However you should always consult with a healthcare professional to determine what is appropriate and whether you are ready to begin working out. In addition Physical Therapists do not require a prescription to schedule your first visit so we can screen whether or not you are able to perform the desired mode of exercise.