It has been said that if you are pressed for time, and you can only do one exercise, do a workout for your heart. Aerobic exercise is perhaps the single most important kind of exercise because it affects your over-all well-being. Activities like walking, swimming, biking, or dancing will always be good exercises. Not only will you feel better but your mood will get a lift as well. This is because of the endorphin release into your body which promotes an upbeat mood. The effect of aerobic activity is systemic in nature, meaning your entire body benefits from the exercise. Your heart and lungs get invigorated, making them stronger organs. The flow of well oxygenated blood is delivered as well to all of your vital organs.
Aerobic is defined by Wikipedia as “‘living in air’, and refers to the use of oxygen to adequately meet energy demands during exercise via aerobic metabolism. Generally, light-to-moderate intensity activities that are sufficiently supported by aerobic metabolism can be performed for extended periods of time. The intensity should be between 60-85% of maximum heart rate.”
Before you embark on any vigorous health program, always consult your physician to get a green light for physical activity. Once you get the permission to pursue some kind of exercises routine, do the math first on what your maximum heart rate is. The formula is 220 minus your age. That would be your maximum heart rate. Now get 60-85% of that figure. The numbers you get should be your heart rate during aerobic exercise. An easy way to get your pulse is from your wrist or neck. While exercising, get a 10 second period of your pulse, and then multiply that by 6 (to approximate a minute). That would be your heart rate while active. If you can afford it, purchase a heart monitor so it is much easier to see how you progress. Another way to see if you are in the “zone” is if you still can carry a conversation. If you are too winded, then you may be in the 90% heart rate range already.
The prestigious Mayo Clinic identifies 10 medically confirmed reasons you should get into aerobics. These are:
1. Keep excess pounds at bay
Combined with a healthy diet, aerobic exercise helps you lose weight — and keep it off.
2. Increase your stamina
Aerobic exercise may make you tired in the short term. But over the long term, you’ll enjoy increased stamina and reduced fatigue.
3. Ward off viral illnesses
Aerobic exercise activates your immune system. This leaves you less susceptible to minor viral illnesses, such as colds and flu.
4. Reduce your health risks
Aerobic exercise reduces the risk of many conditions, including obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, stroke and certain types of cancer. Weight-bearing aerobic exercises, such as walking, reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
5. Manage chronic conditions
Aerobic exercise helps lower high blood pressure and control blood sugar. If you’ve had a heart attack, aerobic exercise helps prevent subsequent attacks.
6. Strengthen your heart
A stronger heart doesn’t need to beat as fast. A stronger heart also pumps blood more efficiently, which improves blood flow to all parts of your body.
7. Keep your arteries clear
Aerobic exercise boosts your high-density lipoprotein (HDL or “good”) cholesterol and lowers your low-density lipoprotein (LDL or “bad”) cholesterol. The potential result? Less buildup of plaques in your arteries.
8. Boost your mood
Aerobic exercise can ease the gloominess of depression, reduce the tension associated with anxiety and promote relaxation.
9. Stay active and independent as you age
Aerobic exercise keeps your muscles strong, which can help you maintain mobility as you get older. Aerobic exercise also keeps your mind sharp. At least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise three days a week seems to reduce cognitive decline in older adults.
10. Live longer
Studies show that people who participate in regular aerobic exercise live longer than those who don’t exercise regularly.
So besides the usual aerobic activities such as running, walking or biking, what other ways can you get a good cardiovascular workout? Here are some suggestions for you that you might like instead of the usual activities to switch up your workouts.
Step Aerobics Routines
Step aerobics is an incredible cardio activity that injects variety to an exercise regimen. It combines dance elements of conventional aerobics with stepping on a platform. Step aerobics can be done anywhere, at a gym or with a DVD to follow at home. Routines can be tailored to be low-impact, mid-tempo or high-impact, lasting anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. Step aerobics is fun and is a calorie blasting activity. Platforms are very inexpensive and can be purchased at your local sports store. Here are some step aerobics routines from eHow.com that should get you started.
Water Aerobics Exercises
Water aerobics is the choice among people who want to get and stay fit without placing too much impact on their joints. Working out in water provides some resistance and keeps you cool while you exercise. It can even have the potential to burn more calories than your non-water based routine. You will feel weightless and enjoy the sensation so much that you will keep doing the exercises. Water aerobics works the entire body and can be used to attain the same objectives that other exercises do. If you have easy access to a pool, why not give this a try. Here are some basic water aerobics exercises from Wonder How To.
High Impact Aerobics
While some people who are cautious with their joints purposely seek low impact aerobics, there are others who are challenged by high impact aerobics. High impact aerobics is uninterrupted, high intensity exercise that involves movements which take both feet off the floor simultaneously. This results is more impact on the joints when the person lands on the floor again. High impact aerobic routines make vigorous use of large muscle groups over a brief span of time. The primary goal is typically for weight loss. It raises the heart rate and can be an efficient calorie burning activity. Cardiovascular fitness and controlling body weight are its main objectives. Examples of high impact aerobic moves primarily include aerobic dancing, jumping and stretching, fast-paced walking, running and jogging, kick boxing and other high intensity activities. High impact aerobics is usually more suited for the intermediate to advanced workout individual. Here are some high impact aerobics videos on Youtube.
Evidently, aerobics is a great workout that you should incorporate to your daily routine. There are many varieties you can choose from and the benefits are amazing! Start now, and you will see outstanding results in no time.