Aerobic fitness training is great for all ages. A recent study of previously sedentary participants with an average age of 53 showed an 18% increase in aerobic fitness after two years.
You’ve probably heard it referred to as cardiovascular exercise. Aerobic exercise is any form of exercise that repeatedly moves the arms, legs, and other large muscles -- resulting in increased heart rate and blood flow throughout the body.
Why is it so important? Lack of oxygen to the brain can lead to forms of dementia, or developmental problems. A lack of oxygen to the heart can cause the main symptoms of heart failure. All of our organs, tissues and cells need oxygen to function.
The process starts when our lungs bring oxygen into the body. It is then transported in the blood and delivered to every cell. Oxygen burns the fuel in our cells to produce energy.
Aerobic fitness training comes with big benefits such as:
In one recent study of the training effects of anaerobic and aerobic exercise, these two forms of exercise were defined as follows:
For anaerobic exercises, think about the short bursts of intense power that go into each set of a weightlifting routine or the bursts of fast motion that are included in high intensity interval training, also known as HIIT.
Anaerobic exercise can only be sustained for short periods of time, which is why HIIT workouts rotate between powerful, fast movements where you exert yourself to the max and slower-paced movements that give your heart and muscles a chance to recover.
Aerobic exercise can be sustained for longer periods of time. Although these exercises will make you breathe harder and may feel uncomfortable when you first start, endurance should improve over time.
There are many options for effective aerobic exercise, such as the following:
There are also some fun workout classes that are based on aerobic fitness training, such as Zumba.
Your heart rate is a measure of how many times your heart beats per minute. While you don’t want your heart rate to get too high while you’re inactive, you do want to push it higher when performing aerobic exercise.
This is where aerobic heart rate monitoring comes into the picture. By taking your pulse manually or wearing a heart rate monitor, you can determine when to push a little harder, when to maintain your current pace, or when to slow down a little to give your heart a break.
Select one or more activities that you enjoy and will do two or three times each week. Start with short workouts of low intensity to see how your body responds.
Many people find it easier to stay motivated if they have a workout companion. Joining your local YMCA or gym gives you the opportunity to participate in water aerobics or other fitness classes.