The connotation of “aerobic” is “taking place while oxygen is present”. Thus, any activity where oxygen is utilized to create energy in a muscle is called “aerobic activity”. This is a three-step process. Warm-up is performed at 50-60% intensity of the maximum heart rate for 5 to 10 minutes. Then, aerobic exercise is done for minimum 20 minutes at 70-80% maximal heart rate intensity. The final step is cooling down for 5 to 10 minutes at an intensity of 50-60% of the supreme heart rate. During the aerobics exercise, the pulse rate is increased, causing the lungs and heart to work harder. As a consequence, the blood and oxygen reaching the muscles and other crucial organs is increased. The metabolism of the body shoots up and the immune system is benefited.
For aerobic training, the frequency, duration and intensity are the pivotal factors. The prevalent time span is 10 to 60 minutes. If the duration is 10 minutes, then the frequency should be twice or thrice a day and five days in a week. If the duration is enhanced to 30 minutes, it is very conducive towards optimum body composition and general fitness. If body fat loss is the objective, the recommended time is 40 to 60 minutes. One must remember that the three factors mentioned above have to be gradually increased from an initial low value. The range of activities included in aerobics is as follows:
- Climbing stairs
- Cross-country skiing
- Ice skating
- High-intensity matches of soccer squash, basketball, lawn tennis, or racquetball
If the type of activity performed is altered per day, then this ascertains that all muscles in the body are utilized. Additionally, the individual does not experience ennui. So, this is an efficient plan.
An aerobic workout can be executed indoors (at home or in a gym) or outdoors. While inside the house, dance mats, rebounder’s or skipping ropes can be used. Simultaneously, the individual can listen to a music CD or watch an exercise video. A gymnasium has several devices like exercise bikes, cross trainers, treadmills, rowing machines, stair masters, or ski masters. A good strategy is to practice on different machines at varying levels of resistance and velocities. Some individuals find it more comfortable to perform along with a group. For such, many gymnasiums furnish trained instructors who guide in step aerobics, body combat, and different dances. When climate permits, one can opt for an outdoor aerobic workout. Brisk walking that results in an increased heart rate, jogging, running, and cycling are the various options. As there has to be continuous movement, sports that involve periods of inactivity are not advocated. Swimming is an excellent activity, especially for those who suffer from joint problems or injuries.
Aerobic Heart Rate
The Karvonen formula is a reliable method to finalize the aerobic heart rate. Initially, the pulse rate, just after waking up in the morning, should be calculated. This is known as the resting heart rate. The individual’s age subtracted from 220 provides the maximum heart rate. The resting heart rate is subtracted from the maximum heart rate. This value is called the heart rate reserve. The heart rate reserve is multiplied by 0.6. This product is added to the resting heart rate. The value so obtained is the lower end of the target training zone. Further, the heart rate reserve is multiplied by 0.8. This product is also added to the resting heart rate. This sum is the upper end of the target training zone. The heart beats of an individual must lie between the lower end and upper end, while he performs aerobic exercise. The result is that the size and strength of the heart increases along with an improvement in the respiratory and cardiovascular system.
Aerobic fitness implies that individuals do not get fatigued quickly and can exhibit a prolonged effort. They can walk, run, or climb for longer duration. For children, a good aerobic fitness level is essential for proper development of cardiorespiratory system, bones, and muscles. For adults, it is an indication of the physiological fitness.
Aerobic activity enhances the heart health, muscular endurance, self-esteem, energy level, and blood supply to the muscles. It diminishes the blood pressure, body fat, blood sugar, cholesterol level, depression, and cardiovascular disease risk. Hence, it is an indispensable part of one’s daily routine in the modern lifestyle.