Aerobic Exercise
Aerobic Exercise

Many of us have personal weight-gain or weight-loss goals. Some of us try to bend the rules and try out diet programs, experiment with “fad? diets, and even take pills that say they do the trick. Either one is not usually healthy. For some people, diet and exercise just cannot solve the problem, and would have to go under the knife. For those of us who are not necessarily trying to lose an extreme amount of weight, there is a basic way of doing so. Aerobic exercise! Is this something new? No way! Aerobic exercises have been around for tons of years, although we avoid these types of exercises because we are thrown off with these “fad? diets and “miracle? pills that are “proven? to help us with weight loss.

Aerobic exercise uses large muscle groups rhythmically and continuously and elevates the heart rate and breathing for a sustained period. Common examples include walking, jogging/running, swimming, rowing, stair climbing, bicycling, cross-country skiing, step and dance exercise classes, roller skating, and the more continuous forms of tennis, racquetball, and squash. Although aerobic exercise is not the technique or concentration intensive, proper technique is still very important to optimize your efficiency and prevent injuries. The best way to make sure that you’re exercising correctly is to consult with a physician or trainer.

How long?

How long you perform aerobic exercise usually depend on your goal, physical condition, as well as your schedule. An acceptable time frame for aerobics is anywhere between 10-60 minutes. If your goal is to lose weight and you are appropriately conditioned, then your goal should be at least 30 minutes with 40-60 preferred. To balance general fitness, health, body composition, and scheduling concerns, 30 minutes is optimal for many people.

How hard should you work out?

There are three ways to determine how hard you should be working out. Your exercise heart rate is the most precise and can be taken manually with your index and middle fingers on the thumb side of your wrist or the groove of your neck near the jaw bone. Second, heart rate monitors are also a good way to observe your beats per minute to keep the exercise in the proper target zone. Third, you should be able to talk comfortably during your workout without having to sound overly exhausted. This is a good test to keep you from working too hard.

How often?

2 to 7 days a week. Under ideal conditions, 2 workouts a week will allow you to maintain your fitness levels, but for nearly everyone 3 to 5 sessions a week would be better. If fat loss is your goal, then 6 to 7 low impact workouts a week (nearly every day) would be optimal. The more often you perform the aerobic exercise the more important it is to cross-train as discussed above. It is always important to gradually increase your duration, intensity, and frequency. It is especially important if you are deconditioned, overweight, elderly, or are rehabilitating from an injury or illness. If in doubt, go easier, shorter, slower, and enjoy yourself.