Types of movement

Even if you move just a little, it all counts.

There are 4 types of movement:

  1. aerobic
  2. strength (anaerobic)
  3. balance
  4. flexibility

Mixing up these activities will give you added health benefits and reduce your chances of getting bored.

Pick a combination that works best for you.

If you're trying something new, it can feel overwhelming. Our resources can help you start moving straightaway. You could even try a game of 'Tag' or go for a lunchtime stroll. It all counts.

If you’re taking your first steps with exercise, see what type of activity you can fit into your daily routine. Do things that you find enjoyable. You can then build up slowly trying different things to see what works for you.

If you have a health condition and want to get moving more, you should get in touch with your GP first for advice on what the best exercises are for you. For most health conditions moving more is good for you, and can help manage or even improve your symptoms.


Aerobic activity increases your breathing and heart rate for an extended period of time – keeping your heart, lungs, and circulatory system healthy. Aerobic activities are great for burning calories and helping with weight loss when combined with a healthy diet.

Types of aerobic activity include:

  • brisk walking or jogging
  • dancing
  • tennis
  • swimming
  • cycling
  • boxfit
  • running

Watch this video from the Keep GM Moving campaign which has exercises for all abilities to help build strength.


Strength exercises make your muscles work harder and help to maintain muscle and bone strength. They also help to improve balance, posture and shape.

Lifting and pushing weights will strengthen muscles, making everyday tasks like walking upstairs or carrying shopping easier.

You can build your muscle strength by:

  • lifting weights
  • working with resistance bands
  • climbing stairs
  • using your own body weight, including push-ups, lunges, squats
  • heavy gardening, including digging or shovelling

Take care that you do not strain while exercising. You should start with low weights (resistance) and gradually increase them over time.


Balance activities help to maintain or improve your balance. Good balance can help prevent falls by improving your ability to control and maintain your body’s position whether moving or standing still.

Your balance can be improved by:

  • tai chi
  • pilates
  • yoga
  • standing on one foot
  • walking heel to toe


Flexibility exercises stretch your muscles, helping your body to stay supple. Being flexible will make other types of exercise easier and help with everyday tasks like reaching for a shelf or getting dressed.

You can improve your flexibility by doing:

  • yoga and pilates
  • sports stretches
  • forward bends – reaching for your toes whilst sitting