Aerobic exercise has been defined by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) as 'any activity using large muscle groups and maintained continuously with rhythmic pattern'. Aerobic exercise causes the heart and lungs to work harder. Whether it's swimming, skiing, running or aerobic dance, aerobic fitness goes a long way in keeping your heart rate elevated and maintaining good health. Find out how aerobic exercise can benefit you.
Aerobic means 'with air or oxygen'. Aerobic activity enables your body to burn calories. Effective weight loss is possible with moderate intensity
aerobic workout rather than short-term and high intensity activities such as sprints.
Any aerobic activity should leave you able to carry on a short conversation. Breathlessness indicates that you have been doing the workout
in an anaerobic manner. This will tire you out and lead to sore muscles. An aerobic workout trains your lungs to process more air with less effort
and your heart to pump more blood with fewer beats. This increases cardiovascular efficiency and endurance. Other than the obvious physical benefits, aerobic exercise improves your mood and reduces depression and anxiety.
A more efficient heart and improved immune system leaves you less susceptible to infection. Improved muscle health and increased life span are important benefits. Aerobic exercise involves working out large muscle groups continuously and rhythmically over a period of time. This elevates breathing and consequently the heart rate. Climbing stairs, bicycling, swimming and cross-country skiing are examples of aerobic activity. Some aerobic exercises are low impact whereas some are high impact.
Low impact aerobic exercise: This form of exercise is performed with one foot on the ground at all times. In this way, lower leg overuse injuries are minimized especially for overweight and senior persons.
High impact aerobic exercise: This form of aerobic activity involves moments when the body is off the ground, such as in the case of jumping and hopping. This sort of activity makes for good metabolic benefits. But caution has to be exercised since the instances of lower leg and foot injuries are more.
Step aerobic exercise: This form of aerobic fitness activity involves stepping up and down a platform and provides a moderate cardiovascular workout.
Aerobic exercises must be avoided by those suffering from problems of the feet, ankles, knees or lower back. You must train under a qualified
aerobic instructor so that you use the proper technique - this will lead to optimum efficiency in your aerobic workout and also prevent injuries.
A typical aerobic fitness workout lasts about 45 minutes to an hour.
The intensity of an aerobic workout is measured in terms of the heart rate and exertion level. Adequate warming up and cool down exercises should be part of any aerobic fitness workout. This will help in reducing discomfort and chances of injury.
Aerobic fitness involves maintaining a comfortable pace while exercising. If you feel faint or weak during or after exercise, then you must look
into your aerobic routine. You can select activities that suit your interests, such as walking, dancing, sports activities or cycling. Gradually build on your aerobic fitness levels. Alternating between different aerobic activities might help in keeping your interest levels higher. Whether
you want to lose weight or just feel good, there is no denying that aerobic fitness goes a long way in maintaining good health.
- Improved cardiovascular and cardio respiratory functioning. This is measured as increased blood volume and ability to carry oxygen.
It leads to increased blood supply to muscles and thereby their ability to use the oxygen.
- Improved glucose tolerance and thereby reduced insulin resistance
- Reduction in body fat and control over weight
- Decrease in blood tri glycerides
- Increasing the threshold for lactic acid accumulation.
The benefit of aerobic exercise is the ability to monitor and reach your Target Heart Range. This refers to the safe range of heartbeats per
minute during exercise.
Here is how you can calculate your Target Heart Range: Women must subtract their age from 220 and multiply the answer by 60% and by 80%. The lower figure indicates the safe rate for beginners to aerobic exercise whereas the higher number indicates your fitness goal.