Are You Ready for Aerobic Exercise?

Maybe when I say aerobic exercise you think of Richard Simmons and Sweating to the Oldies. Perhaps heart pumping, body moving and sweat-inducing... are not your idea of 'fun'.

Or maybe the title of this page tires you out just thinking about it?

Let’s see if I can change your attitude about that!

Cardiovascular fitness is designed to strengthen your heart muscle and increase the efficiency of your respiratory system (breathing and lungs). When you have a strong heart (it is a muscle), your resting heart rate will lower. That means your heart doesn’t have to work so hard every day to pump the blood through your body. By strengthening your heart & lungs, your body is much more efficient at delivering oxygen to your cells and you have better circulation. Aerobic exercise is also a great way to enhance fat loss.

Benefits of Aerobic Exercise

  • better circulation to your whole body including your hands and feet (no more cold toes!)
  • increased endurance - you won’t tire out so quickly
  • easier to breathe and to catch your breath after exertion
  • healthier skin because of the increased blood flow to your cells
  • better concentration because of the increased blood flow to your brain
  • weight loss...don't be an obesity statistic!

How do you incorporate movement into your day?

Here are some ideas for home fitness equipment, outdoor fitness equipment or try your hand at interval training.

Home Fitness Equipment

I know that a lot of people have these useful clothes hangers at home! Admit it! You bought a treadmill, an indoor bike or even an elliptical machine with great intentions. You used it for about a month (maybe less) and then began hanging clothes on it so that it would take away some of the guilt of not using it!

When clients ask me what fitness equipment they should buy, I usually suggest that they don’t purchase anything large at all. A good piece of equipment can cost about $1200. or more.

I suggest that people commit to a gym, a personal trainer or a group class to prove to themselves that they really want to do this first. It will cost a lot less than $1200. to get started and if you 'fall off the wagon' then you won’t have a large piece of home fitness equipment staring back at you!

Home Fitness Equipment Options - If you must!

    Treadmill - Great for people who want to start doing some aerobic exercise because you can walk, jog or run on it. If you’re looking to run on it, make sure it has at least a 2.0HP motor. Also look for a longer track - especially if you are tall.

    Seated Bike - Look for a comfortable seat for you. Sit on the seat before you buy the bike. This is a nice option for people with knee or hip issues because your body weight is supported by the bike. Great for beginners. If you’re a more seasoned biker, you could try a spin bike at home.

    Elliptical Machines - I love elliptical machines! Easier on the joints than a treadmill and you can go forward and backward on them training your muscles in different directions. Elliptical machines offer low impact on the knees and since you keep your feet on the pedals there is less chance of you twisting a knee or ankle.

    Indoor Trainers - These are great additions to a home gym if you already own an outdoor bike. They are a piece of equipment that simply lifts your back tire off the ground so you can turn your road bike into an indoor ride for the winter! They usually cost around $150.

These are your basic pieces for home fitness equipment options when doing aerobic exercise to increase your cardiovascular endurance.

What about those of you who would rather be outdoors? There are plenty of options for outdoor fitness equipment too.

Outdoor Fitness Equipment

Your basic piece of outdoor equipment is a good pair of running shoes! Or you can ride a bike like our friend above!

Walking outdoors is a great way to get your heart rate up and enjoy nature at the same time.  I love to run outside just listening to the sounds of nature! It’s one of the rare times in my day that I don’t hear the sound of someone’s voice! Check out my walking for weight loss page for a program to get started!

What can you do outside to raise your heart rate and get some aerobic exercise?

  • walking or running - try a new route
  • hiking up some local hills or climbing the stairs in a park
  • ride your bike
  • go in-line skating
  • try cross-country skiing in the winter - excellent calorie burner!
  • snow shoeing
  • snow boarding - snow required!

And whatever else you can think of to move your body!

Outdoor Fitness Equipment

  • good pair of shoes - make sure they are properly fitted. If you haven’t bought new shoes in the last 2 years, then now is the time!
  • bicycle - either Mountain bike (can go off-road in the dirt and mud), hybrid (good for road cycling and can handle some gravel/dirt) or road bike (stay on the pavement with this one...but it’s light and fast!)
  • snow equipment- skiis, snow shoes, snowboard, helmet
  • inline skates - get the proper protective gear as well ...elbow, wrist & knees pads as well as a helmet.

As with any activity that you want to try, keep an open mind and have fun! Find something that you like to do. You’ll increase your chances of sticking with it.

Target Heart Rate - How Hard Should I work?

In order to burn fat and get results from your aerobic exercise, you will want to work within 60 to 85% of your maximum heart rate. Here’s a simple calculation to find that number.

220 - Your age = Maximum heart rate per minute (beats per minute)

Now take 60% of your Maximum Heart Rate. And then 85% of your Maximum Heart Rate. This is your range to work in.

Eg. A 40 year old person.

220 - 40(age) = 180 (maximum heart rate - beats per minute)

60% of 180 = 108 beats per minute, 85% of 180 = 153 beats per minute

So, the target heart rate for a 40-year old person would be between 108-153 beats per minute.

This is just a guideline to follow. You should always be aware of how you are feeling and stop immediately if you feel faint, have chest pain or sudden pain in any part of your body.

Hopefully this has given you some inspiration to get your body moving and your heart pumping! Remember to make it fun and bring along a buddy for motivation! That way when you don’t feel like getting off the couch, your friend can encourage you!

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