The Four Components of a Balanced Exercise Plan
By Aris Akavan, ACE CPT, BS MIS
The four components of a balanced exercise plan are strength, cardio, flexibility and balance training. Most of us tend to work on one or two components only, but if you want to improve your results and avoid injuries you need to incorporate all of them on a regular basis.
Endurance athletes typically avoid strength training for fear of “bulking up” and slowing their speed. However, resistance training prevents injuries by strengthening muscles and stimulating the nervous system. Stronger muscles require less energy, and a strong core prevents slouching when fatigued which can restrict breathing.
Cardio training provides stronger heart and lungs, helps with controlling weight gain and prevents many diseases such as heart attack, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and obesity. Furthermore, strength training works the slow-twitch fibers only so you want to include cardio as well to work the fast-twitch fibers.
If your muscles are tense they will be unable to go through the whole range of motion and will be more prone to injury. You can stretch before, during or after your workout but make sure to warm up the body first. And the beauty of stretching is that it can easily be incorporated throughout the day, even at work. You can stretch at your desk, while waiting in line or even in the bathroom stall.
You might wonder why I included balance but as we get older we lose our sense of balance which increases the risk of falls and injuries. If you start working on balance at an early age you will avoid dangerous falls later in life and it does not require any additional time in the gym. Next time you are doing biceps curls, do them standing on one leg or on an unstable surface such as the Bosu ball.
If you want body to move more efficiently you need to incorporate cardio and weight training as well as balance and flexibility. The latter might have little impact on how the body looks but it will have a big impact on overall health and injury prevention.
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About the Author
Aris Akavan, ACE certified Personal Trainer & Lifestyle and Weight Management Coach, is owner of Body Fitness by Aris. Her mission is to assist others in leading a healthier lifestyle by balancing exercise and proper nutrition to achieve the ultimate body & mind wellness. Aris leads by example as she practices what she preaches. She leads an alcohol free and smoke free lifestyle and has worked out while following proper nutrition practices for over 10 years. In the last few years she also started participating in 5k races, adventure runs and triathlons. You can visit Aris at any of her following websites: