5 basic principles of a complete exercise program (2023)

Physical Training: Elements of a Complete Routine

Physical training balances five elements of good health. Make sure your routine includes aerobic conditioning, strength training, core exercises, balance and flexibility training, and stretching.

By Mayo Clinic staff

Perhaps you are just beginning to take your first steps towards fitness. Or you love sports and want to improve your results. Either way, a complete fitness training plan is essential. Add these five elements to your fitness routine for a balanced routine.

aerobic capacity

Aerobic activity, also known as cardiovascular or resistance activity, is at the core of most physical training programs. Aerobic activity or exercise makes you breathe faster and deeper. Breathing increases the amount of oxygen in the blood. The heart beats faster, causing more blood to flow to the muscles and back to the lungs.

The better your aerobic condition, the more efficiently your heart, lungs, and blood vessels move oxygen throughout your body. And it will likely be easier to perform routine physical tasks.


Aerobic activity includes any physical activity that engages large muscle groups and increases your heart rate, such as:

  • Go.
  • Carrera.
  • Cycle.
  • Nadar.
  • Baile.
  • water aerobics.
  • collection of leaves.
  • snow clearing.
  • striving.

For most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week, or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity. The guidelines suggest that you spread this exercise out over a week. To help lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, at least 300 minutes per week is recommended. You can even break your activity into shorter workouts and try to move more throughout the day. Any amount is better than nothing.

You can also try high-intensity interval training, also known as HIIT.HIITinvolves short bursts of intense activity lasting about 30 seconds. You then have recovery periods from lighter activities of about 1 to 2 minutes. So you can e.g. B. switch between brisk walking and relaxed walking. Or add jogging to your brisk walks.

weight training

Strength training is another important part of a fitness training plan. Muscle fitness can help you increase bone strength and muscle fitness. And it can help you maintain a healthy weight or lose weight. They can also improve your ability to perform daily activities. Aim to strength train all major muscle groups at least twice a week.

Most gyms offer a variety of resistance machines, free weights, and other strength-training equipment. But you don't have to be a gym member or buy expensive equipment to reap the benefits of strength training.

Hand weights or homemade weights like plastic bottles filled with water or sand can also work. Or use inexpensive resistance bands. Your own body weight also counts. Try push-ups, pull-ups, crunches, and squats.

basic exercises

The muscles in the abdominal area, also known as the stomach, lower back, and pelvis, are known as the core muscles. The core muscles protect the back and connect the movements of the upper and lower body. Core strength is an important part of a complete physical training program.

Core exercises help train the muscles to support the spine in your back. And they help you use your upper and lower body muscles more effectively. So what counts as a core exercise? A compound exercise is any exercise that engages the core of the body without support. Some basic exercises are bridges, planks, crunches and fitness ball exercises.

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balance training

Balance exercises can help you keep your balance at any age. Older adults in particular should exercise regularly to maintain or improve their balance. This is important because balance tends to deteriorate with age. A lack of balance can lead to falls and broken bones, known as fractures. Balance exercises can help older people avoid falls and continue to do things independently.

But everyone can be helped by balance training. It can help stabilize the core muscles, which is called stabilizing. Try standing on one leg for long periods of time to improve your stability. Activities like tai chi can also improve balance.

flexibility and stretch

Flexibility is an important part of physical fitness. Try incorporating stretching and flexibility activities into a fitness plan. Stretching exercises can help increase flexibility. Being more flexible can make many everyday activities easier.

Stretching can also improve the range of motion of the joint. And stretching can help improve posture. Regular stretching can even help relieve stress and tension.

Consider stretching after a workout when your muscles are warm and open to stretching. Try to hold your stretches for at least 30 seconds. If you want to stretch before exercising, warm up first. Walk or exercise for 5 to 10 minutes before stretching.

Try to stretch with every workout. If you don't exercise often, you can stretch at least 2-3 times a week after warming up to maintain flexibility. Activities like yoga will also help you stay flexible.

Got all the essentials

You can create your own fitness program or ask a personal trainer for help. But your complete exercise plan must have many parts. Try incorporating aerobic conditioning, strength training, core exercises, balance and flexibility training, and stretching into your exercise plan. You don't have to include each of these elements in every physical workout. But adding them to your regular routine can keep you fit for life.

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1. November 2022

  1. Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. 2nd ed. United States Department of Health and Human Services. https://health.gov/paguidelines/second-edition. Retrieved October 10, 2022.
  2. Four types of exercises can improve your health and physical performance. National Institute on Aging. https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/four-types-exercise-can-improve-your-health-and-physical-ability. October 11, 2022.
  3. Be hot, cool and flexible. American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/staying-healthy/warm-up-cool-down-and-be-flexible. Retrieved October 10, 2022.
  4. Ask the mayo expert. Physical activity (adult). Mayo Clinic; 2022.
  5. Resistance training for health. American College of Sports Medicine. https://www.acsm.org/education-resources/trending-topics-resources/resource-library/detail?id=d0b4cc7b-1d6f-4b1a-ad20-182373d021e7. Retrieved October 11, 2022.
  6. MoreyMC. Physical activity and exercise in the elderly. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Retrieved October 10, 2022.
  7. Ratamess N. ACSM Fundamentals of Strength Training and Conditioning. 2nd edition Kindle version. Wolters Kluwer; 2022. Accessed October 14, 2022.
  8. High-intensity interval training. American College of Sports Medicine. https://www.acsm.org/education-resources/trending-topics-resources/resource-library/detail?id=5f13c6a6-854b-4a7c-a3d5-1ca524643594. Retrieved October 14, 2022.

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  47. Do you miss a workout? Do not give up!
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  49. Do you need motivation to exercise? put it on paper
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  51. No pain no gain? No chance!
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  59. Start a fitness program? slow down
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  65. Want to get in shape? Try backyard aerobics!
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