Basic Types of Exercise Everyone Needs to Know

Basic Types of Exercise Everyone Needs to Know

Best Types of Exercise to Reach Your Goals

Now more than ever, we need to cater to our physical and mental well-being. This is the time to stay active, rest adequately, practice self-care, and effectively nourish our bodies.

Basic types of exercise for everyone

With this being said, I’m writing this article to go over the basic types of exercise as well as give simple tips that can improve one’s overall health and wellness.

Types of Exercise

There are so many ways to exercise (barre, CrossFit, yoga, swimming, aerial arts, Pilates, bodybuilding, etc). However, if I had to whittle fitness down to three categories, I would say resistance training, bodyweight exercises, and cardio.

Most types of exercise can fit into one of these categories.

What Is Resistance Training?

Resistance training involves any type of movement that adds external tension/stress to the body using some type of resistance training equipment.

Essentially, any exercise that is weighted in some fashion can be labeled a resistance exercise.

Equipment For Resistance Training

  • Barbells
  • Weighted machines
  • Dumbbells
  • Bands
  • Kettlebells
  • Plates
  • Ankle and wrist weights

The list could go on and on.

In short, any piece of equipment that safely and effectively loads the body during exercise can be used for resistance training.

Everyone Needs It

Many people feel that they don’t need to do any kind of resistance training/lifting. That just simply isn’t true! Everyone needs it to some degree!

I have worked with a lot of women that fear becoming bulky from lifting weights. However, the truth of the matter is, is that as long as you keep high reps with light/moderate weights you will not get bulky.

Furthermore, if you aren’t following a bodybuilder diet with max protein, you most likely won’t get bulky either.

Why Do It?

Resistance training is super important for posture, agility, and maintaining proper form.

It also reduces the risk of injury (by reducing the body’s need to compensate) and helps keep the body in great condition. Having adequate muscle tone can help one age gracefully as well.

Furthermore, resistance training aids in weight loss/maintaining one’s weight. For every pound of muscle you have/gain, the body burns 50 calories at rest. In short, this creates a fail-safe when we do indulge in cheat meals.

Basic Types of Exercise Everyone Needs to KnowHowever, having muscle is never an excuse to eat whatever you want. I recommend healthy diets (indulging in a cheat meal about once a week) no matter who you are.

Lastly, the lean muscle just looks good-which can help with one’s self-esteem, self-image, and mental health.

What Are Body Weight Exercises?

Bodyweight exercise is any movement that uses your own body weight without other types of equipment.

This could include TRX (one of my favorites), any type of mat work such as Pilates or yoga, or standing exercises such as squats and lunges.


Bodyweight exercises allow the individual to really focus on form as well as strengthen one’s mind-body connection since someone doesn’t have the added tension from weighted equipment when performing bodyweight movements.

Types of Cardio Exercise

Cardio is anything that gets your heart rate up to a certain number (on a heart rate monitor) and endorphins going. It can be weighted but doesn’t have to be. Cardio usually involves the repetition of a similar movement for a certain amount of time.

Below are a few types of cardio.

  • Cycling
  • Spinning
  • Running
  • Swimming
  • Plyometrics
  • Hiking

Please note, this is not all types. I provided this list to give you all a basic idea of cardio exercise.

Why It’s Important?

In short, doing regular cardio weekly keeps the heart, lungs, and skin healthy.

It also has been proven to help with mood, optimism, and positivity due to the natural adrenaline and endorphin release this type of workout can provide.

It’s also great for weight loss and weight management.

Fat Burning Zone

Earlier in the article, I mentioned that cardio helps elevate one’s heart rate to a certain number. Now, you may be wondering, what number am I referring to?

I’m talking about finding the fat-burning zone if you’re using any kind of heart rate monitors such as a Fitbit or Apple Watch.

When doing cardio, the most optimal heart rate to have is one that consistently is in the fat-burning zone. To find your fat-burning zone range use both of the below formulas.

  • 220-your age x.6 = first number of range
  • 220-your age x.7 = second number of range

Essentially, this zone is using 60-70% of your overall energy.

The Talk Test

A lot of fitness professionals still use The Talk Test to measure energy expenditure.

Basically, if you’re so out of breath that you can’t talk for long periods of time after completing a cardio exercise/workout, then you pushed yourself potentially too hard, and are most likely out of the fat-burning zone. This would mean a fail on The Talk Test.

If you find that you consistently can’t talk and have trouble catching your breath after cardio, you may want to lower the intensity for your overall well-being.

HIIT Circuits

It’s also totally cool to combine resistance training, bodyweight exercises, and cardio moves into a safe and effective HIIT workout. It really comes down to fitness level, goals, and how one prefers to work out.

Some people might prefer separate workouts for different types of exercise and that’s totally okay!

Example of HIIT circuit combing the three types of exercise:

  1. Burpees
  2. Deadlift to rows
  3. Bird dogs
  4. Squat to press
  5. Ice skaters
  6. Leg raises

Please only attempt the above workout if it’s safe for you to do so. Sets ranges, rep ranges, speed, weight, and intervals should be based on the individual performing the workout. Modification is always an option.

Who Needs What Type of Exercise

I’m a big believer in incorporating the above three kinds of exercise weekly into my routine.

Our minds and bodies are complex and need lots of different kinds of activity.

The best way to live the healthiest life possible is to switch it up, and not get up caught up in doing the same kind of workout day in and day out.

Know Your Body

Lastly, it’s important to take a mental and physical inventory often to determine what type of fitness routine is going to work best for you.

Perhaps keeping a daily wellness journal can help with this. This is an effective way to know more about yourself and what you can healthily handle.

Remember; you are the expert on yourself. Fitness is all about balancing healthily pushing yourself and refraining from something.

Determine what’s the best way you can show up for yourself in regards to your fitness goals and roll with that!


I hope this article has given you some ideas on how to better reach your goals and ways to switch up your workout routines.

Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions or comments here. I currently offer in-person and virtual training as well!

As always, thanks for reading, and stay tuned!

Alexis was trained in Russian Ballet for 12 years before finding her love of bodybuilding and fitness. She also graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s in Psychology, and has extensive work experience in the Mental Health Field, which allows her to approach fitness and training from a mental health standpoint.

Alexis is grateful to be a NASM-certified personal trainer and a Mad Dogg Athletics-Certified Spin Instructor. Her mission is to help all individuals achieve their best selves, and have the happiest and healthiest lives possible. Her specialities are resistance training, TRX, bodybuilding, HIIT/VIIT/LIIT, spin, corework, functional moment, nutrition, and weight loss.

She is honored to be a guest contributor for DIY Active and wishes to inspire and motivate all readers. Please feel free to email her at for more info about wellness, fitness, and personal training including virtual options.
Alexis Mallery

Disclosure: In the spirit of full disclosure, may be compensated in exchange for featured placement of certain reviews or your clicking on links posted on this website.

Basic Types of Exercise Everyone Needs to Know