Alex Simotas, MD

Hospital for Special Surgery
Board Certified Physiatrist
Specializing In Spine & Sports Medicine

Home > Wellness & Exercise > Wellness Strategies > Basic Types of Exercise

Basic Types of Exercise

There are three basic groups of exercise. They are:

  • Range of Motion Exercises (also referred to as flexibility or stretching).
  • Strengthening Exercises which may include:
    • Exercise performed with and without weights.
    • Exercise with progressive weights and repetitions (also referred to generally as PRE – Progressive Resistance Exercises).
    • Exercise that incorporates multiple muscles groups in motions that simulate various activities (functional exercises).
    • Exercise that focuses on strengthening the trunk muscles.
  • Cardiovascular Exercises (strengthening that emphasizes endurance).
    • Sometimes labeled simply as “fitness”.
    • Heart and lung function weighted endurance.
    • Important for back muscle function.

All three groups of exercises are important, but one, cardiovascular fitness, is the most critical to long-term wellness, prevention of injury, and increased pain and stress tolerance.

A mixture of exercises in all three groups can be helpful in the rehabilitation process, eliminating or diminishing chronic or reoccurring back pain and aiding in prevention. Strengthening exercises, combined with flexibility exercises and a consistent effort to maintain cardiovascular fitness, is the key to providing clear benefits to individuals with back problems.

Here are some helpful tips:

  • Start with a FUN exercise. You are much more likely to begin an exercise routine if you perceive it as being enjoyable.
  • Start slow. Start off slow with a light warm up for a few minutes and then get yourself primed by doing some stretching.
  • Wear proper footwear.
  • Set an exercise schedule and stick with it!
  • Set realistic goals, both long term and short term.
  • Maintain an exercise log to track your accomplishments.
  • Find a workout buddy, someone else who is looking for physical fitness motivation.
  • Join a health club and surround yourself with other motivated people.
  • Don’t be too hard on yourself. Try to maintain a schedule of exercise several times per week, if you miss sometimes, no big deal. Just pick up where you left off.