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Aerobic Activity

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Investing 30 minutes a day in aerobic activity, such as walking, bicycling, water aerobics or swimming, can help you live longer and healthier. In fact, aerobic exercise may be the magic bullet you've been looking for.

Aerobic activity or "cardio" exercise, gets you breathing harder and your makes your heart beat faster. Walking fast, running or jogging, bike riding, playing basketball, or swimming laps are all examples of aerobic activity.

Doing aerobic exercise

You can do moderate or vigorous intensity aerobic activity, or a mix of the two each week. Intensity is how hard your body is working during aerobic activity. A general rule of thumb you can follow for sufficient aerobic activity is that one minute of vigorous intensity activity is about the same as two minutes of moderate intensity activity.

Regardless of your age, weight or athletic ability, aerobic exercise is good for you. As your body adapts to regular aerobic activity, you'll get stronger and more efficient. Your small blood vessels (capillaries) will widen to deliver more oxygen to your muscles and carry away waste products, such as carbon dioxide and lactic acid. Your body will even release endorphins, natural pain relief that promote an increased sense of well-being.

Different Types of Aerobic Activity

Something for almost everyone can be found under the generic aerobics umbrella. Young and old can take part in aerobics classes and workouts, as can the fit and initially unfit.

One of the main reasons people fail to persevere in an exercise regimen and to meet their exercise goals, is they get bored. Simple as that.

This is particularly true when people work out alone at home. One of the keys to the success of aerobics is that it makes exercising FUN, especially when it is done in a group.

Following are some variations of aerobic activity. Perhaps you'll find one (or more?) that appeals to you!

  1. Sportfunk. This is an enjoyable, hihg-energy, but moderate impact workout that uses creative and funky dance moves.
  2. Sculpt. The aim of this series of exercises is to improve muscle tone. It utilizes weights, tubes and bands to provide resistance.
  3. ABS/Glutes. This is a workout designed to strengthen and tone the muscle groups of the gluteal and abdominal regions.
  4. STEP. This workout takes advantage of the aerobic value of stair-climbing by simulating its moves. It uses basic STEP patterns and can be used with people at all levels of fitness.
  5. STEP II. This is an advanced, high-intensity workout for people who are already skilled steppers. The workout features propulsion movements and limited STEP combinations.
  6. Cardio/Interval. This is the ultimate cardiovascular workout. Participants alternate between intervals of STEP, high-intensity power moves, and high-implact aerobics.
  7. Hydrorobics. People of all levels of fitness can enjoy this water aerobic program. Workouts provide a high level of resistance, without adding stress to the body.

These are just a few of the many variations on the aerobics theme. Whatever a person's interest and fitness level, there is anaerobics workout tomeet his or her needs. Video tapes make it possible to work out at home, but there is something about thie social nature of aerobics and the music to which the exercises are performed that makes it more fun to do it in a group.

More on Water Aerobics

Running, jogging and walking underwater in a pool not only strengthens the leg and hip muscles - the quadriceps, hamstrings and gluteals -- but helps to develop cardiorespiratory fitness. If you are a novice to this form of exercise, the key is to take it easy at the start.

Swimming When just beginning, lightly exercise in the shallow end -- walking at this stage will be enough.

As your confidence improves, move gradually to thigh-deep then chest deep water, increasing your speed as you do so. Whilst moving, aim to use the water as resistance, landing in a heel-ball-toe action and maintaining an upright stance. Pump your arms as if walking or jogging on land.

Once you have developed a good technique which is comfortable for you, aim to walk or jog underwater for between 20 to 40 minutes per exercise session. Water aerobics have the added benefit of enabling you to burn up calories much more efficiently.

Compare the following estimates of calorie consumption for a 30 minute workout.

  • Land walking: 135 calories
  • Deep water walking 264 calories
  • Jogging on land 240 calories
  • Deep water jogging 340 calories

Light, Moderate, or Vigorous Aerobic Activity?

For most people, light daily activities such as shopping, cooking, or doing the laundry doesn't count toward the guidelines. Why? Your body isn't working hard enough to get your heart rate up.

Moderate-intensity aerobic activity means you're working hard enough to raise your heart rate and break a sweat. One way to tell is that you'll be able to talk, but not sing the words to your favorite song. Here are some examples of activities that require moderate aerobic effort:

  • Jogging or running
  • Swimming laps
  • Riding a bicycle or on hills
  • Playing singles tennis
  • Playing basketball

Health Benefits of Aerobic Exercise

  1. Improves Bone Calcium.
  2. Improves Blood High Density Cholesterol.
  3. Improves Handling Of Excess Heat.
  4. Increases Hemoglobin.
  5. Improves Resistance To Cold.
  6. Decreases Blood Tri-glycerides.
  7. Gives You an Emotional Lift.
  8. Decreases Blood Pressure.
  9. Decreases Insulin Requirement.
  10. Increases Glycogen Storage.
  11. Less Conversion Of Sugar To Fat.
  12. Increases Stroke Volume of Heart.
  13. Decreases Resting Heart Rate.
  14. Avoid Senility - Increases Oxygen Delivery To Brain.
  15. Increased Oxygen Pickup In The Lungs.
  16. Increases Fat Burning Enzymes.
  17. Fat Deposits Release Fatty Acids Better.
  18. Better Control Of Hunger.
  19. Decreases Body Fat.
  20. Decreases Stress (Attitude).
  21. Increases Ability To Handle Stress (Biochemical).
  22. Increases Muscle Mass.
  23. Easier To Exercise.
  24. Increases Aerobic Threshold (Endurance).
  25. Higher Level Of Exercise Possible.
  26. More Calories Burned.
  27. More Body Fat Burned.
  28. More Calories Required At Rest.
  29. Decreases Load On The Heart.
  30. Decreases Muscle Dependence On Sugar.
  31. Decreases Incidence of Hypoglycemia.

Stay Young Longer with Aerobics

Older exercisers (ages 50 to 72) are often able to postpone disability by about nine years compared to their non-exercising counterparts. Plus, they lived longer. In other words, they lived a better-quality and a longer life than those who did not do any type of aerobic exercise. Source: Archive of Internal Medicine

Anger-obics Anyone?

Anger Suppression. Suppressing anger has been linked to depression, and many health care experts believe it can lead to a variety of increased health risks, from excess weight to heart attack. One option:  Exercise with punch. "Anger-obics", a term coined by anger expert Lisa Tener, combines movement, visualization, creativity and humor to help you physically express anger in healthful ways. EXamples range from stomping on a Post-it note -- on which you've written a word or situation that gets your goat -- to dancing energetically while shaking a scarf to release your anger.

Freebie: Weekly Exercise Chart (PDF)

Weekly Exercise Chart


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Disclaimer: The material on this Web site is not intended to replace advice from your doctor or fitness professional. Please consult with your physician before beginning any fitness program or fat or weight reduction program. FitnessandFreebies.com takes no responsibility for individual results, or any claim made by a third party.