What Are 7 of the Most Effective Exercises?

Medically Reviewed on 9/28/2021

Different types of exercises

The seven most effective exercises are swimming, tai chi, resistance training, walking, kegels, active lifestyle, and sneak exercise into your daily life.
The seven most effective exercises are swimming, tai chi, resistance training, walking, kegels, active lifestyle, and sneak exercise into your daily life.

Exercise has incredible physical benefits. It can help improve your mental health and reduce your risk for many illnesses. If you are a beginner in the world of exercise, it can be overwhelming and difficult to know where to begin. However, some exercises are more effective than others.

The best type of exercise is exercise that you do regularly and that incorporates many different types of workouts. The different types of training you should incorporate into your routine or broader exercise regime are:

  • Aerobic exercise. These are types of exercise that bring your heart rate and breathing up. They help your heart, lungs, and circulatory system and improve your overall fitness level. These exercises can include speed walking, jogging, swimming, or biking.
  • Strength training. These exercises make your muscles stronger. Examples are weight lifting and using a resistance band.
  • Balance. Engaging in exercises that build your balance makes walking and preventing falls much easier. Workouts that have you stand on one long or otherwise test your balance are ideal for this.
  • Flexibility. Stretching out your muscles helps you to stay limber and gives you mobility. Doing yoga or other stretches is excellent for improving your flexibility.

The most effective exercises

The seven most effective exercises for the vast majority of people are:

  1. Swimming. This is one of the most efficient workouts you can do. While you swim, your joints are buoyed by the water, and you can move more fluidly than you can outside of the water. Swimming also incorporates aerobic and strength training at the same time. A bonus is that swimming can improve your mood.
  2. Tai chi. A Chinese martial art, tai chi uses movement and relaxation for both your body and mind. Often called “meditation in motion.” You can expect to learn various activities that flow into each other. Tai chi can be practiced at all levels and is so versatile that most bodies and body types will do it. If you are just starting, you should look into finding a class in your local community. Tai chi gives you aerobic exercise, strength training, and balance training.
  3. Resistance training. Things like lifting weights will make you strong, help burn calories, and may help preserve brain functioning for longer in your life. However, you must start slowly and correctly. Start with light weights, just one or two pounds per weight. Then, gradually increase your weights after about two weeks after getting to a place where you can comfortably lift the weight in all ranges.
  4. Walking. Easy does it in this case. Walking is actually a powerful way to stay in shape and helps you stay fit. It has been shown to improve cholesterol, strengthen your bones, keep blood pressure down, lift your mood, and lower your risk of disease. Studies on walking have also shown that it helps with memory and avoiding age-related memory loss. Just make sure to purchase shoes that are supportive and comfortable. Start slowly and aim to walk for around an hour most days of the week.
  5. Kegels. Unlike other exercises, Kegels strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and help prevent incontinence. While Kegels are most popular with women, men are also able to do them. Simply squeeze the muscles you use when trying not to pass gas or urinate. Hold them for three seconds, then unsqueeze them. Do this four to five times per day.
  6. Active lifestyle. You don’t need to lift lots of weights, have a personal trainer, activewear, or anything else to exercise. Simply engaging in activities like raking your lawn, dancing, or playing with your children can count as exercise. Just make sure to get in thirty minutes a day of aerobic activity and try to engage in strength training around twice a week.
  7. Sneak exercise into your daily life. If you work in an office or live a generally sedentary lifestyle, you can always get exercise in strategic and unique ways. For example, if you have a coffee break, choose to buy your coffee at the farthest place you possibly can. Try to take the stairs instead of the elevator at least a couple of times a week. Suggest holding meetings on walks rather than sitting stationary. Try to seek a co-worker in their office by walking to them instead of texting or emailing them. Again, you don’t need to hit the gym every day to exercise. In fact, less intense yet more constant exercise is often healthier for your body.


Pictures of the 7 Most Effective Exercises to Do at the Gym or Home (and Tips to Improve Form) See Slideshow

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Medically Reviewed on 9/28/2021
Harvard Health Publishing: "5 of the best exercises you can ever do."

HealthLinkBC: "Exercise and Physical Activity Ideas."

U.S. National Library of Medicine: "Exercise and Physical Fitness."