The mechanics of aerobic exercise require that oxygen be brought in by the lungs and transferred to the blood vessels. Oxygen rich blood is then pumped by the heart to the muscles. The muscles utilize oxygen for muscle contraction. Through routine aerobic activity, the body becomes more efficient at processing oxygen. Examples of aerobic activity include running, jogging, biking, rowing, walking. In fact any exercise that incorporates large muscle groups, raises the heart rate, breathing rate and body temperature is aerobic in nature.
Various benefits of aerobics can be summarized as
- Increases cardio respiratory and cardiovascular system outputs
- Strengthens heart
- Decreases resting heart rate
- Improves circulation by clearing out cholesterol buildup
- Body adapts to burn fat as primary fuel source
- Improves psychological disposition and reduces stress levels
- Raises basal metabolic rate
- Decreases blood pressure
- Reduces LDL blood cholesterol level
- Tones muscles
- Improved balance and posture
- Increases Blood Oxygen level
- Increases flexibility, reducing capability for injury
Fitness Level gains are determined by frequency, intensity and duration of the aerobic exercise. Each session (duration) should last from 20 to 60 minutes and be performed 3 to 5 days per week (frequency) at an intensity level measured by heart rate (60% – 90%).
During the first 15 minutes of aerobic activity, glycogen or sugar within the muscles is used for energy. Fat metabolism for energy doesn’t occur until about 15 to 20 minutes after beginning aerobic activity. This is why it’s important that aerobic duration be at least 30 minutes. Aerobic sessions greater than 1 hour continue to burn fat but at not the same rate as during the first hour.
Aerobic training has two main goals of improving cardiovascular performance and to burn fat. Both of these goals can be realized during the same aerobic session.
If the goal is to simply improve cardiovascular strength then we need to target performance. Like weight training, we want to consume a complex carbohydrate snack before aerobics. A sugar snack will not provide the sustained energy and in fact may decrease performance. Excessive sugar intake before aerobic activity can work against the participant.
Anything that maintains the target heart rate 60% – 90% of the Maximum Heart Rate is considered aerobic. If the heart rate is lower, then aerobic levels have not been reached. If the heart rate is higher, then an anaerobic level has been reached. During anaerobic exercise (sprinting) protein is being consumed and energy is being produced without the benefit of oxygen.
High intensity, high impact aerobics is not necessary to burn fat. For example, running for 1- mile burns only 20% more fat than brisk walking for 1 mile. It’s important to focus on the exercise and maintain the target heart rate. Watching TV, reading books or other similar activities tends to distract the participant from monitoring the target heart rate. Use music with sufficient beats per minute to intensify the exercise session (120 – 140 bpm).
It is important to provide a period for cool- down. Abruptly stopping aerobic activity can cause blood pooling in your lower extremities or making you feel light-headed.
There are four different types of stretching: ballistic, dynamic, proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation, and static stretching and are explained
- Ballistic stretching is a rapid bouncing stretch in which a body part is moving with the momentum that stretches the muscles to a maximum. Muscles respond to this type of stretching by contracting to protect itself from overextending.
- Dynamic stretching is a walking or movement stretch. By performing slow controlled movements through a full range of motion, a person reduces the risk of injury.
- Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) is a type of stretch for a particular muscle and its specific job, so resistance should be applied, then the muscle should be relaxed.
- Static stretching is a type of stretch whereby a person stretches the muscle until a gentle tension is felt and then holds the stretch for thirty seconds without any movement or bouncing.
It is important that a person does not hold a stretch for longer than thirty seconds to a minute because the muscles will become hyper-extended. Stretching should not be painful and it is critical for a person to perform stretches properly to protect their muscles from injury. A person should stretch before and after a workout, even sometimes during the workout. The time frame that a person stretches during their workout is crucial to the well being of their muscles.
The goal for heart fitness is to keep the heart rate at about 70% of your maximum heart rate for 20 minutes at least 3 times a week. The formula for figuring out your maximum heart rate is 220 minus age. If a client is 20 years old, the maximum heart rate is 200 beats per minute. 70% of 200 is 140, so 140 beats per minute is the proper training zone.
Adults should get a total of 30 minutes or more of physical activity every day. For fitness benefits adults should do 20 to 60 minutes of continuous aerobic activity, three to five days a week at 60 to 90 percent maximum heart rate using the major muscle groups.
Step aerobics is a form of aerobic power distinguished from other types of aerobic exercise by its use of an elevated platform (the step). The height can be tailored to individual needs by inserting risers under the step. Step aerobics classes are offered at many gyms and fitness centers which have a group exercise program.
Pilates is a physical fitness system developed in the early 20th century by Joseph Pilates, and popular in many countries, including Germany, the United States and the United Kingdom. As of 2005, there were 11 million people practicing the discipline regularly and 14,000 instructors in the United States alone. Pilates called his method “Contrology” (from “control” and Greek -λογία, -logia).
Concentration – Concentrate on what you’re doing all the time for smooth movements. In Pilates, the way that exercises are done is more important than the exercises themselves.
Control – It is based on muscle control. Exercises are done with control with the muscles working to lift against gravity and the resistance of the springs and thus control the body movements.
Centering – The center is the focal point of the Pilates Method and usually refers to the group of muscles in the center of the body—encompassing the abdomen, lower and upper back, hips, buttocks, and inner thighs. All movements in Pilates should begin from the powerhouse and flow outward to the limbs.
Flow – Pilates aims for the elegant sufficiency of movement, creating flow through the use of appropriate transitions. The Pilates technique asserts that physical energy exerted from the center should coordinate movements of the extremities.
Precision – Precision is essential to correct Pilates. The focus is on doing one precise and perfect movement, rather than many halfhearted ones.
Breathing – Breathing is important in the Pilates method. Proper full inhalation and complete exhalation were key to house-cleaning with blood circulation.