The mechanics of aerobic exercise require that oxygen be brought in by the lungs and transferred to the blood vessels. Oxygenated blood is then pumped by the heart to the muscles. The muscles utilize oxygen for muscle contraction.
Our body becomes more efficient at processing the oxygen, by regular Aerobic Activity. Examples of aerobic activities include running, jogging, biking, rowing, walking, etc.
In fact, any exercise that recruits large muscle groups increases the heart rate, breathing rate, and body temperature are aerobic in nature.
Benefits of Aerobic Exercise
- Aerobic exercises increase cardiorespiratory and cardiovascular system outputs.
- It strengthens our heart and lungs.
- Decreases resting heart rate.
- Improves circulation by clearing out cholesterol build-up.
- Our body adapts to burn fat as a primary fuel source.
- Improves psychological disposition and reduces stress level.
- Raises basal Metabolic Rate that is BMR
- Decreases Blood Pressure.
- Reduce LDL that is a bad blood cholesterol level.
- Tones muscles.
- Improved balance and posture.
- Increases blood oxygen level.
- Increases flexibility and reduces the risk of injury.
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What is the weekly requirement and limitations of Aerobic Exercises?
Fitness level gains are determined by frequency, intensity, and duration of Aerobic Exercises. Each session of aerobic exercise should last from 20 to 60 minutes and be performed 3 to 5 days a week. Aerobic Exercise should be done at an intensity level, which can be measured by heart rate (Heart Rate Should be 60% to 90% of maximum heart rate) according to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)
First, 15 minutes of any aerobic activity, glycogen, or sugar which is stored in muscles is used for energy. Our body does not metabolize fat for energy until about 15 to 20 minutes after beginning the aerobic Exercise. This is why it is important that aerobic duration should last at least 30 minutes.
Aerobic sessions more than an hour continue to burn fat but at not the same rate as during the first hour. Sessions more than an hour increase the risk of injury due to fatigue.
Increasing the frequency of aerobic training to more than 5 times a week does not give the body a chance to recover fully and can even decrease the body’s capability to defend itself against an illness that is the overall immunity of the body decreases.
While undertaking an aerobic or any kind of exercise regime, a person should understand the limitations of their body. Adequate sleep, rest, and proper diet are very crucial our body is stressed with demands above normal everyday physical stress.
Types of Aerobic Activities
Anything or any activity that maintains the target heart rate of 60% to 90% of the maximum heart rate is considered aerobic in nature. If the heart rate is lower, then our body has not reached its aerobic levels. If the heart rate is higher than anaerobic levels has been reached.
It is not necessary to practice High intensity, high impact aerobics to burn fat. For example, running for one mile burns only 20% more fat than brisk walking for one mile. It’s important to focus on the exercise and maintain the targeted heart rate. While doing aerobic exercises watching TV or other similar activity tends to distract the person from monitoring the target heart rate. It’s advisable to listen to music with proper beats per minute to intensify the exercise session (120 to 140 BPM)
It is important to cool down after an aerobic training session. Abruptly stopping aerobic activity can cause blood pulling in your lower extremities, which will make you feel lightheaded.
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Aerobic Exercise During Pregnancy.
During pregnancy, no exercise should be performed in the supine position after the fourth month. The target heart rate should not exceed 140 BPM. Avoid exercises that incorporate extreme flexed or extended joint positions.
Also avoid jumping moments due to joint and tissue laxity. It is important to understand that during pregnancy it is enough to maintain the current fitness levels and one should not try to increase or improve the fitness level. High step Heights can become dangerous due to the body’s change in the center of gravity. Recommended step Heights are 4 to 6 inches.
During Pregnancy, strenuous activities should be limited to 15 minutes at a time. It is also very important to avoid holding of breath i.e. the Valsalva maneuver during the exercise. It robs not only the baby of oxygen but oxygen-starved muscles can cramp easily.
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Diet Requirements During Aerobic Exercises.
You are what you eat, the performance of your body depends on what kind of diet you follow. Unlike weight lifting exercises, aerobic training has two goals to achieve. The first goal is to improve cardiovascular performance. The second goal is to burn fat. Both of these goals can be achieved during the same aerobic session.
If the goal is to simply improve cardiovascular endurance then we need to target performance. Like in weight training we should consume a complex carbohydrate snack before the aerobics training sessions.
A sugar snack will not provide sustained energy and may decrease performance. Excessive sugar intake before an aerobic training session can work against the person. When a large amount of sugar is ingested, the pancreas secretes insulin to metabolize the sugar. Insulin levels in the blood inhabit the liver from metabolizing fat.
Therefore little or no fat burning takes place during exercises. Sugary drinks include sports drinks that stay in the stomach much longer than ordinary water thereby inhabiting quick hydration. Therefore if the goal is to burn fat then Water only should be consumed before the aerobics training sessions. In addition to the doctor’s recommendation.
- Eat a small easily digestible snake such as crackers prior to exercise
- It is recommended to drink plenty of water before, during, and after exercise to avoid dehydration.
- The older population lose their sensitivity to thirst and subsequently dehydrate easier.
- Wear loose, comfortable sports clothing to avoid restrictions in movement.
Heart Rate (Maximum, Resting & Target)
Maximum Heart Rate
The maximum heart rate is determined by a person’s age. A person should not exercise beyond The Maximum Heart Rate level. In fact, one should never even exercise near the maximum heart rate. It is important to understand that sickness, fever, many drugs, caffeinated drinks and coffee, and alcohol can push the heart rate to dangerous levels. The maximum heart rate is determined as follows.
Maximum heart rate = 220 – Age
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Resting heart rate
Measuring the Rate of Heart is an accurate measure for your performance during the aerobic training session, However, heart rate is not the only indicator of your fitness level. Heart rate needs to be determined, particularly if you plan to use the method of determining your target heart rate. The resting heart rate is should be measured every morning for three consecutive days. Count your heart beats for 10 seconds, by keeping a watch by your side, then multiply the total beats you counted in 10 seconds by 6. The beats you get is your resting heart rate.
By regular aerobic training, your cardiovascular system becomes stronger and as a result, your resting heart rate will slow down
Target Heart Rate
The target heart rate is the heart rate that a person should try to maintain during the aerobic training, the person’s fitness level determines which of the three intensity level that is beginners, intermediate or advanced, he or she should be maintaining. For each level of fitness, approximately four to six weeks should be given before moving to the next level. It is advisable to practice at least three aerobic sessions a week.
- Beginner level = 60 to 70%,
- Intermediate Level = 70 to 80%
- Advanced Level = 80 to 90%
Heart rate should be measured every 15 to 20 minutes for experience participants of aerobic exercise and every 5 to 10 minutes for beginners. Pulse rate can be measured from one of the two Anatomical sites the carotid artery or the anterior wrist.
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MET (Metabolic Equivalent)
This is a measure to calculate the level of oxygen used by the body during physical activity. 1 Met is equal to 3.5. Milliliters of Oxygen Consumed Per KG of Per Minute.
Generally, when your body is relaxed like when you are resting or talking or the phone etc, oxygen or energy used by the body is approximately 1 MET. Any physical activity that forces the body to burn 3 to 6 MET is believed to be of moderate intensity. Activity that makes the body burn more than 6 MET is considered to be high intensity in nature.
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