What Counts as Aerobic Exercise?
Aerobic exercise is any physical activity that makes you sweat, causes you to breathe harder, and gets your heart beating faster than at rest. It strengthens your heart and lungs and trains your cardiovascular system to manage and deliver oxygen more quickly and efficiently throughout your body. Aerobic exercise uses your large muscle groups, is rhythmic in nature, and can be maintained continuously for at least 10 minutes.
Benefits of Aerobic Exercise
Aerobic exercise has multiple benefits that can put you on the path to total body health and is an easy and affordable way to stay out of the doctor’s office.
Natural Stress Reliever and Mood Elevator
Aerobic exercises do more than improve lung strength and muscle size. They also have mental health benefits.
Exercise releases endorphins into your body that can reduce stress, anxiety, and even depression. Many people also report sleeping better at night after engaging in physical activity.
The best part of aerobic exercise is that it can cost little or no money at all. All you really need to go for a long, brisk walk is some time and a little motivation.
You can learn more about the science of stress reduction and coaching clients to stress relief via the Stress Management Coach course.
Improves Heart Health and Increases Stamina
Physical activity is the most effective way to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. Exercises, like walking, bicycling or swimming, can make your heart stronger so it doesn’t need to beat as rapidly. They can also boost your “good cholesterol” and lower your “bad cholesterol,” improving the overall health of your heart.
An aerobic exercise routine that increases your heart rate several times a week will put more pep in your step. It also builds stamina and reduces fatigue. Over time, exercise increases your body’s ability to take in and use oxygen for fuel, giving you more energy throughout the day.
Helps You Stay Trim
A healthy diet works best when combined with physical activity. Regular, low-intensity exercises can help you lose weight and keep your pounds off. Walking, bicycling or other exercises help burn calories, tone muscles, and even reduce the risk of obesity.
Strengthens your Immune System
People who regularly exercise are less likely to suffer from minor illnesses, like colds and flus. Studies have shown that regular, moderate aerobic exercise increases a type of antibodies that strengthens the immune system.
Help You Age Gracefully
Aerobic exercise keeps the muscles strong, which can help your clients maintain mobility as they age. Exercise can also lower the risk of falls and injuries from falls in older adults. Regular physical activity like aerobic training may help protect memory, reasoning, judgment and thinking skills in your older adults. It may also improve cognitive function in children and young adults. It can even help prevent the onset of dementia and improve cognition in people with dementia.
Types of Aerobic Exercise
Aerobic workouts use the large muscles of your body to boost your heart rate for an extended period of time. For good health, aim to perform aerobic exercise for 30 minutes most days of the week. To lose weight, up that workout time to 60 minutes most days. A variety of workouts can be classified as aerobic.
Walking, Jogging or Running
Walking and hiking are among the most accessible aerobic workouts you can do. You don’t require anything but your two feet, a good pair of shoes, and a place to go. If you don’t have an outdoor space available, walk indoors on a treadmill or even in a mall. Walking is accessible for most people, including most people with joint problems. If you find walking doesn’t raise your heart rate enough, hike up hills or pick up your pace.
Jogging and running definitely raise your heart rate, but they aren’t for a beginner. But, if you’ve got healthy joints, they provide a great way to progress your walking workouts. When walking is too easy, consider alternating a few minutes of walking with a few minutes of running to raise your heart rate to an aerobic level — between 50 and 85 percent of your maximum heart rate, according to the American Heart Association.
Modern aerobics classes offer fun and variety to your cardio workouts. Combine heart-pumping music with dance moves, basic calisthenics, athletic movements, and kickboxing to get your breath and heart rate up. Working out with a group can be motivating, but it may also be too intense for people new to working out.
Interested in learning more about the benefits of fitness classes and maybe even how to lead one yourself? Check out the Group Exercise Instructor course.
Water workouts offer an almost no-impact way to raise your heart rate and fit in aerobic activity. If swimming isn’t for you, consider water aerobics or water walking. The buoyancy of the water supports your body weight and thus makes the exercise easy on the joints.
Riding a stationary bicycle indoors or a regular bicycle outdoors raises your heart rate and can improve your fitness. Riding a cruiser on the boardwalk may not be quite enough to count as an aerobic workout, however, so pump your legs and feel your breath coming at a faster rate to get aerobic benefits. You can join an indoor cycling class or a virtual class like those provided by a fitness business like Peloton.
Steady, non-stop dancing raises your heart rate and counts as an aerobic activity. Uptempo styles, such as ballroom and hip-hop, are the most aerobic. Zumba, the popular fitness class based on Latin dance, can burn over 350 calories per class, reports the American Council on Exercise. It’s highly effective and fun, which means you’re likely to keep coming back and reach your goals.
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There is always something exciting about earning a new training or coaching certification and applying that new knowledge of how you train your clients. This also helps you hit the reset button. NESTA and Spencer Institute coaching programs are open to anyone with a desire to learn and help others. There are no prerequisites.
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