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Fitness activities, A to Z

Do things that you love to do, and you'll never feel like your workout is work. Choose at least 1 from each activity type to get the full health benefits of your fitness routine.

Have mobility or other limitations? Talk to your care team about the activities marked with an asterisk (*).

Aerobic exercise

Aerobic exercise strengthens your heart and lungs and increases your body's ability to use oxygen. Any activity that makes your heart beat faster and work harder can boost your aerobic fitness. Walking is one of the best aerobics exercises you can do, but you've got lots of options.

A to FG to KL to SqSt to Z
AerobicsGolf*LacrosseStair climbing
BadmintonGymnasticsPaddleballSurfing
BaseballHandballPaddleboatingSwimming*
Basketball*HikingRacquetballTable tennis*
Bowling*Horseback riding*Roller bladingTae bo
BoxingIce skating*RowingTae kwon do
BroomballJudo*RunningTennis
Canoeing*JujitsuScuba diving*Track and field*
Climbing*Jumping ropeSled hockey*Volleyball
Cycling*Karate*Skiing*Walking
Dancing*Kayaking*Snorkeling*Water aerobics
DodgeballKickballSoccerWater basketball
Fencing*KickboxingSoftballWater volleyball
Field hockey Speed skatingWrestling
Football SquashZumba

Flexibility exercises

Being flexible improves your posture, range of motion, balance, and coordination. Doing exercises to increase your flexibility can help your body move more efficiently and reduce pain and tension. Take a few minutes before and after a workout for flexibility exercises.

Strength training

Think strength training is for guys in muscle t-shirts? Think again. It's essential to staying healthy, inside and out.

Man using free weightsStrength training uses weights or resistance to build muscles. As your lean muscle increases, so does your resting metabolism. You can burn 35 to 50 more calories each day for each pound of muscle. That can really add up.

Building your muscles boosts your power and endurance. Whatever sport you play, strength training improves your overall performance and lowers your risk of injury because it reinforces your bones, connective tissues, and joints.

Strength training also helps you stay strong as you age, too. As you get older, you can lose lean muscle, leaving you at risk for falls. Seniors who fall tend to break major bones and seldom regain full mobility and independence.

Aim for including strength exercises, especially those that work the core muscles of your abdomen, twice a week. Explore adding some of these to your routine:

  • Archery*
  • Calisthenics (push-ups, crunches, pull-ups)
  • Pilates
  • Yoga
  • Free weights*
  • Weight machines*
  • Tubing or bands*
  • Tai chi* and qi gong
  • Hill repeats
  • Plyometric drills

Try a health class or talk with a coach

Check out our health programs and classes. Not sure which activities are right for you? Consider getting a health coach to mentor you as you work toward your fitness goals. Call a health coach at 1-866-862-4295 (toll free).

Reviewed by: Robert Sallis, MD, February 2016

Additional Kaiser Permanente reviewers

©2016 Kaiser Permanente