The great thing about aerobic exercise is that there are unlimited options at your disposal. There are so many choices when it comes to picking a good workout. You could run around your house each day for 20 minutes and achieve your goal. But you will more likely have success with a variety of exercises that you enjoy.|
Find a "Go To" Exercise
Do you enjoy riding a bike, running, swimming, playing tennis,or roller-blading? Whatever it is, try to find something you can use as a regular part of your fitness routine. This can become your "go to" exercise. For example, if you like riding a bike, each workout day can start with a bike ride to help get you inthe right mindset. Many times, just starting is the biggest hurdle to overcome. The "go to" exercise is like that morning cup of coffee, kick-starting your workout.
Keep Challenging Yourself
Oftentimes people will do the exact same thing for an extended period of time and wonder why they don’t see any changes. In the beginning, your body is challenged, but eventually it’s conditioned to handle the stress. The body needs to be continuously challenged to see results. It can be as simple as going from the 4.0 level on an exercise bike to 4.3, or from 0 percent grade to 1 percent on the treadmill – slowly putting a little more stress on the body, burning a few more calories, and developing more lean muscle tissue. You'll begin to notice the difference.
Raise Your Heart Rate
Most experts recommend elevating your heart rate to 60-85% of your maximum heart rate. Remember, however, it’s only a recommendation and there is room for personal adjustment. It’s good to listen to your body and figure out what works best for you. To calculate your target heart rate range, use our calculator.
The best way to begin an aerobic exercise program is to set up a manageable program. If you start out with too much, it’s a lot easier to overwhelm yourself and not stay consistent. Try starting out with 10 minutes, 2-3 days a week. Make it easy. It’s okay if you finish thinking it wasn't hard and that you could have done more – that’s what the next day is for. It becomes a challenge. The more times you tell yourself, "that wasn’t bad," the easier it becomes, instead of dreading going back tomorrow. Once you feel like you are ready for the next step, gradually add a little intensity. For example, go from 10 minutes to 15 minutes for those 2-3 days, or bump it up to 3-4 days for 10 minutes.
Try Circuit Training
Circuit training is a fun way to add variety to your aerobic workout, and an efficient way to get an aerobic and resistance training in one workout. A circuit usually consists of 6-15 exercises, in which you move from one exercise to the next with little or no rest. This allows your heart rate to stay elevated, and helps you enjoy a variety of different exercises while getting a full body workout and the benefits of aerobic effort.
Example circuit. (Click to see exercise demonstrations found in the Fitness Resource Center):
It’s important to warm up, cool down and stretch during every workout. You'll be able to perform better during the workout, and your body will have a faster recovery once you're done. Check out the benefits of a proper warm-up before exercise, as well as things to think about if you are a beginner .
Article created on: 4/29/2004
The Keys to Aerobic Exercise
What You Need to Know
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