3 physical fitness activities for better health

While not usually aerobic, the activities below offer numerous health benefits and are enjoyable ways to get and stay in shape. All are offered at many community or recreation centers, and gyms.

1. Yoga

Yoga is a system of physical postures, stretching, and breathing techniques that can improve flexibility, balance, muscle strength, and relaxation. Many styles are available, ranging from slow and gentle to athletic and vigorous. A recent study found that regular yoga practice may help to minimize weight gain in middle age.

2. Tai chi

Tai chi is an ancient Chinese practice based on shifting body weight through a series of slow movements that flow rhythmically together into one graceful gesture. This gentle, calming practice can help to improve flexibility and balance, and it gradually builds muscle strength.

3. Pilates

Pilates is a body conditioning routine that seeks to strengthen the body’s “core” (torso), usually through a series of mat exercises. Another Pilates method uses special exercise machines, available at some health clubs. The practice can strengthen and tone muscles as well as increase flexibility.

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