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Is Aerobic Exercise Really Necessary?

Jun 8, 2008
What exactly is aerobic exercise? According to Wikipedia, it means exercise to involve oxygen consumption. Aerobic refers to the use of oxygen in the body's energy-generating process. Why do we train aerobically? The advantages are many. With sufficient training of at least 3 times a week, the benefits are:

a) Increased Resting Metabolic Rate to assist in fat loss
b) Increase in the body's production of antioxidants
c) Encourages a healthy cardiovascular system
d) Strengthens the heart muscle
e) Helps fight infections
f) Helps strengthen bone mass (with the exception of cycling and swimming)

An efficient and safe method to execute involves the following phases:

1) Warm Up Phase
The muscles that are required to be active need to warm up beforehand. This could be a light 5 minute walk on the treadmill to get the blood flowing to the muscles before a run.

2) Stretching Phase
After the warm up, your body temperature would have risen slightly to cause mild sweat. This is the best time to stretch all the muscles to minimize injury such as sprains during the workout itself and to prepare them for the motions.

3) The Aerobic Phase
The actual aerobic phase can last anywhere from 15 minutes to 1 hour. There are two types of aerobic training. One is the continuous type where you will maintain your heart rate between 65% to 80% of your maximum heart rate. What is the calculation of your maximum heart rate? It is 220 minus your age. If you are 40 years old, your maximum heart rate is 180 beats per minute. You will be training between 117-144 beats per minute.

The second type of aerobic training is the high interval type, which is alternating between a sprint and a walk. The recommended length of this type of training need not be longer than 20-30 minutes per session due to its intensity.

4) Cool Down Phase
This is an important part of the whole process as the body needs to wind down after the stress which the body has to endure in the aerobic phase. A 5 minutes walk is sufficient to cool down.

5) Stretching Phase
Stretching is not just necessary for warming up. It is also crucial after cooling down to ensure the muscles stay flexible and free of injuries. Bouncing movements, however, is not encourages in this phase.

Many people start an aerobic activity with good intentions to get healthier and lose weight only to give up after a month or two. Why? Usually it's due to jumping in too quickly and doing too much after being sedentary for years. Sometimes, it's poor planning & poor time management. Many times, the activity itself is so tedious and so boring, even a hamster would jump of the wagon.

This is something only you can decide. The activity you choose should define your personality. For instance, I love to dance and I'm active in martial arts. When I'm in a gym and I want to get a good cardio session, I will naturally gravitate towards a dance or body combat class. I have a lot of fun and I get my aerobic training at the same time!

If your favorite exercise is clicking the remote control at your sofa and need to be pushed a lot to get moving, I would suggest doing a little reading on the various types of interesting activities that you can incorporate into your life to include family members and close friends if you hate doing solitary workouts.

At least the whole family gets involved in living a healthier lifestyle. You don't have to do it alone, you know.
About the Author
Nina Redza is a health professional who practices good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle with regular exercise More information about aerobic and cardio exercises can be found at http://www.aerobic-exercise.us
You can browse through Nina's homepage for http://www.ninaredza.com
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