All about Aerobics
Cardiovascular training is an important part of a health regimen. Also known as Cardio training, it helps in increasing the endurance of skeletal muscles by making the distribution of oxygen by the heart more efficient. Cardio exercises can vary from brisk walking, running, cycling, swimming, rowing to cross-country skiing.
Why do you need Cardio?
- It’s a great way to burn lots of calories and lose weight.
- It teaches the heart to work more efficiently while strengthening and improving our lung function.
- It strengthens the muscles and increases our bone density.
- It helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol, further activating our immune system.
- It increases our stamina and reduces fatigue.
- Finally, it also lifts the spirits and helps fight stress, negative thoughts and depression.
How do we go about it?
Caution: If you have or have had heart problems, or if you are an older adult, consult a doctor before starting any cardio training activity. Once you have the green light from a professional, you can begin to train gradually.
Step 1: First check your Estimated Maximum Heart Rate. This is usually derived by subtracting your age from 220. (If your age is 35 years, your estimated maximum heart rate is 220 – 35 = 195 beats/minute.)
Step 2: Set-up your training schedule with a variety of exercises with different intensities and durations. The below guide can help you for your initial training. While you will feel exhausted at start, with consistency, your energy levels will increase.
|Day of the Week||Friday||Sunday||Tuesday|
|Category of exercise||Low intensity, long duration||Medium intensity, medium duration||High intensity, short duration|
|Duration||40-60 minutes||20-40 minutes||5-20 minutes|
|example exercises||Walking or cycling/jogging at easy pace||Running, skipping, swimming or cycling at medium pace||Mix of burpees, squat jumps, high knees etc|
|Heart rate||40-60% of max heart rate||65-75% of max heart rate||80-85% of max heart rate|
Step 3: You will slowly notice that all exercises start becoming easier. You feel fresher in the morning and have also started to feel fit. This is due to your consistency. Keep following your training schedule rigorously for at least a month before making any changes.
Step 4: All exercises have become easy and you have started to feel that you are not able increase your fitness further. Now is the time to mix up your training schedule. You will want to include the below exercises in your training, to lose those extra kgs and become fitter than before.
- Aerobic Interval Training – Involves a period of moderate to high intensity aerobic work, alternating with a period of rest of low intensity work, eg 2 minutes of fast running then 1 minute of slow walking, repeated 5 times. The key is variation during the training while not pushing yourself to an extent where you need to stop completely.
- Anaerobic Interval Training – Involves training at an intensity of 85 to 100% of your HR max where you aim to go all out for short periods of time then resting for equal or longer periods of time. Example: Sprinting as hard as you can for 30 seconds then recover/walk for 30 seconds, repeat 3 to 5 times depending on fitness level.
- Fartlek Training – refers to speed training and is a combination of all the above types of training together in one session. Example: Run for 10 minutes, sprint for 30 seconds, walk for 2 minutes, run fast for 2 minutes, jog slowly for 5 minutes then sprint again. It is a great way to work through the entire intensity spectrum as well as prevent boredom.
- Circuit Training – Involves a series of exercises performed in rotation with minimal rest incorporating weights. It is a good way to combine aerobic and weight training at the same time. Unlike other forms of aerobic training it works the entire body instead of just the legs.
Step 5: Now you have been training for almost 6 months and can feel the improvement in not just your fitness, but also your confidence and motivation. Just make sure to continue on your fitness journey.
Start small, stay consistent!
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