The word aerobic literally means “with oxygen” or “in the presence of oxygen.” Aerobic exercise is any activity that uses large muscle groups, can be maintained continuously for a long period of time and is rhythmic in nature. Aerobic exercises utilize oxygen as the major fuel for sustaining activity for relatively long periods.
In general, aerobic exercises are those activities that require large muscle work, elevate the heart rate to between 60 percent and 80 percent of maximal heart rate, are continuous in nature and are of 15 to 60 minutes in duration. An aerobically fit individual can work longer, more vigorously and achieve a quicker recovery at the end of the aerobic session.
Aerobic exercises fall in two categories:
Low to Moderate Impact aerobics – These include walking, swimming, stair climbing, step classes, light water aerobics, rowing and cross-country skiing. Nearly anyone in reasonable health can engage in some low- to moderate-impact exercise. Brisk walking burns more calories than jogging for the same distance because it takes more time to walk than jog that distance and poses less risk for injury to muscle and bone.
High-Impact aerobics – Activities that belong to this group include running, dance exercise, tennis, racquetball and squash. High-impact aerobics should be performed on alternate days. People who are overweight, elderly, out of condition or have an injury or other medical problem should do them even less frequently and only with clearance from their doctor.
Here are some of the many aerobic exercises you can do and because of the variety you have to choose from, it can not only take the boredom out of doing it, it can make doing it downright fun as well.
Walking is a popular form of exercise because it requires little in terms of equipment or facilities. Walking an extra 20 minutes each day will burn off 7 pounds of body fat per year. Longer, moderately-paced daily walks are best for losing weight.
In jogging or running, an individual is able to cover greater distances in a shorter period of time. Therefore, greater numbers of calories can be burned per time spent.
- Choreographed Aerobic Exercise
Choreographed aerobic dance is a very popular form of exercise throughout the world. Aerobic dance helps in toning up the muscles of the body and many people find it fun to do as well.
- Step Aerobics
Step aerobics incorporates the use of a step or bench typically about one foot wide and three feet long and about six inches high. Instructors use many moves that require participants to step up and down from the platform. This way, the activity will not be boring and tiring, but will be lively and motivating.
- Water Aerobics
Water aerobics incorporates a variety of movements from both swimming and land aerobics to develop vigorous routines that are aerobic in nature. It utilizes the resistance to movement that water creates to elevate heart rates and also helps you if balancing yourself on land is difficult. It is a good way to lose weight.
Swimming is a very popular form of regular exercise. Due to the resistance of water, the amount of energy required to swim a certain distance is greater than that needed to run or walk the same distance. In other words, swimming can burn more calories than running per time spent.
- Stationary Cycling/Bicycling
Stationary cycling or bicycling are excellent forms of aerobic exercise when done continuously. Like swimming, cycling is a non-weight bearing activity that builds muscular endurance and strength and improved flexibility of selected muscles of the legs and thighs.
- Jumping Rope
Jumping rope can be a great aerobic workout as long as it is performed at a slow to moderate pace and is done continuously for a relatively long period of time (15 minutes or more).
The key to effective weight loss is through use of a healthy exercise program which is performed on a regular basis while following a healthy dieting & nutritional plan. Aerobic exercise is good for weight loss because it uses more calories than other activities and helps raise your metabolic rate.
This helps your body burn calories at a faster rate. It is an effective way to lose fat only if you are motivated enough to do it frequently. Aerobics only burns fat during the workout itself. So if you want encouraging results you need to be able to exercise daily and for longer periods.