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The 3 Pillars of Getting Active: Cardio, Strength, and Flexibility

Build your active and healthy life on these three simple (but important) cornerstones:

1. Cardio
When your heart and lungs work together efficiently, you improve endurance and achieve maximum calorie burning. We measure this with a MET, or metabolic unit. A higher MET number means more efficient, effective, and intense exercise.

Here’s a list of METs for common activities:
3 Pillar of Getting Active: Cardio, Strength, and Flexbility

But really, the Talk Test is an easy guide to knowing if your exercise is intense enough.

  • Moderate intensity: You can talk, but not whistle or sing, during the activity.
  • Vigorous intensity: You will not be able to speak more than a few words without pausing for breath. With vigorous exercise, you can more than double the benefits in half the time.

2. Strength Training
Strength training increases bone density, muscle tone, and muscle strength. When strength training, aim for three days per week and target these three muscle groups:

  • Upper body: chest, arms, shoulder, and upper back
  • Lower body: upper and lower legs
  • Core: abdominal, oblique, and lower back muscles

3. Flexibility
Flexibility is often overlooked, but it’s a major component of living a healthy life. Stretching exercises or activities like yoga, tai chi, or Pilates make other exercises more efficient by helping you achieve a full range of motion. While you’re making your muscles and ligaments more pliable, the muscles around them become stronger.

What is your favorite exercise?