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Types of Physical Activity

There are different types of activities and a range of activities are important for overall physical health. Exercise and physical activity fall into four basic categories — endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility. Most people tend to focus on one activity or type of exercise and think they're doing enough. Mixing it up also helps to reduce boredom and cut your risk of injury.
Each type is different and doing a variety of exercise will give you more benefits. 

Endurance or aerobic activities

  • Increase your breathing and heart rate and keep your heart, lungs and circulatory system healthy and strong. Building your endurance makes it easier to stay active.
  • Examples: walking, dancing, swimming, climbing stairs, biking, running, skiing.


  • Makes muscles stronger and increases bone density (these exercises are sometimes called strength training or resistance training.
  • Examples: lifting weights, using resistance bands, carrying groceries.


  • Gentle reaching, bending and stretching activities to keep your muscles relaxed and your joints mobile. Flexibility improves range of motion in your joints. With age, muscles can lose their elasticity and become weak and tight.
  • Examples: stretching exercises, yoga.


  • All forms of exercise improve balance, posture, stability, and coordination. Balance is important to maintaining independence and preventing falls.
  • Examples: Tai Chi, stretching, standing on one foot. 
For information about the physical activity and healthy living programs that are running in your community, visit your community page: