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Types of Physical Activity

Friends walking on stairs with yoga mats

There are many different types of physical activity including walking, running, swimming, cycling, weightlifting, dance, fencing, climbing and many more. The National Institute of Health recognizes four categories of physical activity: endurance, strength, stretching, and flexibility. Can you think of any exercises that might fit in these categories? Some exercises might fight into a few categories.


Endurance exercises require the use of oxygen, referred to as aerobic exercise, usually over a longer period of time. 


  • Brisk walk
  • Jogging
  • Yard work
  • Dancing
  • Swimming
  • Climbing stairs

Strength exercises are important because they help keep your muscles strong to do daily activities like getting in and out of bed and carrying your backpack or work bag. You do not need equipment to build strength, but that is an option as you get stronger. Instead, you can do activities that build strength using your own body weight or objects around your house.

Strength exercises without equipment:

  • Squats
  • Push-ups
  • Leg raises
  • Yardwork (shoveling & raking)

Strength exercises with equipment:

  • Weightlifting
  • Resistance bands
  • Chair sits
  • Stair step-ups

Balance exercises help strengthen the muscles arounds your joints. Balance exercises are important because they can help prevent injuries and falls.


  • Standing on one foot at a time
  • Heel-to-toe walk
  • Yoga

Flexibility is important because it keeps your body limber so you can perform daily activities without getting hurt or causing pain. Think of when you have laid in bed for a while and went to get dressed and put on your shoes. You may have noticed these things were harder to do and your body felt stiff. Flexibility exercises help your muscles stretch out and move easier.


  • Yoga
  • Forward fold (touching your toes)
  • Lunges
  • Knees to chest

Think about what activities you enjoy doing and how they may fit into more than one category! Remember, physical activity isn't just working out or fitness classes.


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