Three types of exercise that must be included in an effective and well-rounded exercise program

We all have our favourite ways of exercise. Some would swear by yoga, while others choose running or weightlifting as their main training component.

But is doing cardio better than working on muscular strength? Can yoga deliver all exercise benefits you need? The answer is no.
An effective and well-rounded exercise program must include all three components: aerobic, strength and flexibility training. Each of them specialises on a different body system and none is better than the other. You need all of them.
Sounds overwhelming? Doesn’t need to! Let’s take a closer look at these three training types and learn how you can easily introduce them in your everyday routine.
I included a sample weekly exercise program at the end of this article.


Aerobic (cardio) exercise plays a key role in weight management and positively affects your cardiorespiratory system. In other words it prevents the so-called lifestyle diseases like type II diabetes, obesity or cardiovascular disease. To make it even simpler, this is the training that burns the most calories and helps you shed extra weight.

This is the most natural form of exercise. We all do it every day, but the key is to keep going for at least 10 minutes at a time and make sure that both your heart rate and breathing rate increase. In other words, your body should feel it’s doing some work.
Walking, jogging, cycling, swimming or dancing are great examples of aerobic exercise, which is defined as any activity that uses large muscle groups in a continuous and rhythmic fashion for a sustained period of time.


Aerobic exercise guidelines

  • Aim for a minimum of 30 minutes of aerobic exercise a day for at least five days a week.
  • Keep the pace comfortable. Depending on your current fitness level you want to exercise at 4-6 out of 10 on the intensity scale. What does it mean? 4/10 would typically indicate a brisk walk, 5/10 jogging and 6/10 running, but this of course will vary for different people.
  • Do you find it almost impossible to squeeze 30 minutes of activity into your busy day-to-day schedule? Divide it into 10 minutes chunks. Any activity is better than none and everything counts.
  • If you are a gadget person, use a step tracker and aim for a minimum of 10k steps a day. On average this is enough to hit our recommended 30 minutes of aerobic exercise a day.
How to find your 30 minutes a day
  • Cycle to work. Basel is such a bicycle friendly city! Then walk briskly for 10 minutes during your lunch break. Cycle back home deliberately choosing a way home that is a few minutes longer.
  • Or simply take a 30-minutes long walk after dinner. This will not only complete your daily dose of aerobic exercise, but will also help lower your blood sugar after the meal.  Research shows that exercising soon after eating has positive effects on blood glucose levels.
  • Pick a nice sunny day and head outside the city for a hike. Basel is surrounded by beautiful hills, forests and mountains. You can find hiking maps and trails for all levels of difficulty online and in local book shops. I highly recommend the Komoot app, which is free in your local area and allows you to access maps even when offline.


Muscular strength and endurance training improves your strength and posture, prevents injuries and lower back pain, increases muscle and bone mass and again, it helps to manage your weight by raising your metabolic rate.
Although this type of training gives your muscles the highly valued “tone”, there’s so much more to it! Strength exercises can correct a hunched posture. They decrease the risk of osteoporosis. And they prevent and help with low back pain, which is so common amongst mums and other people.

Resistance training makes you feel stable and strong and gives you more energy. It helps you push, pull and lift things.


Resistance exercise guidelines


  • Aim for 6-10 exercises 1-3 times a week.
  • Use exercise machines, resistance tubing, free weights or simply just your own bodyweight. Personally I’m a big fan of body weight gymnastics, because it makes you strong but not bulky and you can do it pretty much anywhere!
  • Try fitness classes like pilates, postural training, body pump or circuit training. Alternately give Total Body Conditioning a go. This is a class that combines both aerobic and strength exercise and rounds it off with stretches, so you tick three boxes at a time!
Afraid of getting too bulky?

Don’t want to sign up with a gym? Check out my outdoor bodyweight training options:

Personal Training
Small Group Fitness Classes


As we age, our joints get stiff and their range of motion decreases. Simple movements become painful. Our posture suffers as well as our ability to perform everyday duties.

Flexibility and mobility training helps to maintain a good range of motion in your joints and reduces the risk of injuries. Add a few balance exercises to you routine to ensure a higher quality of life as you age.

Flexibility training guidelines

How to add flexibility training to your exercise routine?
  • Flexibility training doesn’t have to be time consuming. It can consist of 5-6 basic stretches for the large muscle groups. You can perform them before going to bed (it helps you relax and promotes good sleep) or simply at the end of your aerobic or strength training.
  • Yoga offers wonderful flexibility and balance training, whilst also helping you stay calm and focused. Why not attend a yoga class in your local area?
  • If you’d rather practice yoga on your own, there’s lot of online programs available. My absolute number one is this Awakening Yoga Flow by Jessica Matthews 


cycle to work + yoga (online video)

30 mins evening walk + 5 mins stretching before bedtime

cycle to work + 15 mins lunchtime brisk walk

Total Body Conditioning class

30 mins evening walk + 5 mins stretching before bedtime

postural training class (for example Stand Up Straight)

1h walk