Nutrition

Get Set to be Healthy and Fit with these Aerobic Exercises.

Exercise is one of the best things one can do for their health. It has innumerable benefits like improving your overall health and fitness, and reducing your risk for many chronic diseases. There are various categories or types of exercises:

Let’s discuss the one most important type of exercise:

  • Aerobic exercise or “cardio” exercise which requires pumping of oxygenated blood by the heart to deliver oxygen to   our working muscles.
  • Aerobic exercise stimulates the breathing rate and heart rate to increase in a way so that it can be sustained for the exercise session.
  • Any kind of activity which is performed for more than 2 /3 minutes with low, moderate or high intensity is known as cardiovascular training.  
  • This training includes Swimming, Aerobics running, Jogging etc.
  • Cardio training is supported by our oxygen therefore known as aerobic activity.

Benefits of Aerobic exercises:

Improves cardiovascular health

Aerobic exercise is recommended by the AHA  to the people with, or at risk of heart disease because exercise strengthens our heart and helps it more efficiently pump blood throughout the body.

Lowers blood pressure

Cardiovascular exercise may help us in managing our symptoms of high blood pressure

Reduces asthma symptoms

Aerobic exercises can help  people with asthma as it lessens both the frequency and severity of asthma attacks. But we always should talk to the doctor before beginning a new exercise routine if we have asthma.

Reduces chronic pain

If we are suffering from back pain, cardiovascular exercise like low-impact activities, for example, swimming or aqua aerobics help us get back muscle function and endurance.

Helps in sleep.

If we are having trouble sleeping at night, we can try out cardiovascular exercise during your waking hours.

Study on individuals with chronic sleep issues revealed that a regular exercise combined with proper  sleep hygiene education is an effective treatment for insomnia.

But exercising too close to bedtime may make it more difficult to sleep. Try to complete our workout at least two hours before bedtime.

Regulates weight

Yes, we know that diet and exercise are the building blocks to weight loss.

But aerobic exercise alone may hold the power to help us in losing weight and keep it off.

Strengthening the immune system

Few researchers at Pennylsylvania State University tested on both active and sedentary women and the effect of exercises on their immune systems.

  • First group were asked to exercise on a treadmill for about 30 minutes
  • Second group had a burst of intense activity over 30 seconds
  • The third group were completely sedentary.
  • Blood taken from the women pre, post and at different intervals.
  • Results showed that in regular and moderate aerobic exercise there is an increment of certain antibodies in the blood known as immunoglobulins which ultimately strengthens the immune system.
  • The sedentary group of women have no improvement in immune system function. Plus, their cortisol levels were more than those who are in the active groups.

Improving the brain power

  •  Scientists have discovered that aerobic exercises slow brain power loss and improve our cognitive performance.

So, in a study,

  • 55 older adults submitted magnetic resonance imaging scans for evaluation.
  • The participants were tested to assess their health including their aerobic fitness.
  • The individuals who were most active showed fewer reductions in the frontal, parietal, and temporal areas of the brain.

Boosting our mood

  • Do we know that moving our body may also improve our mood?
  • In a  study on individuals with  depression, participants were asked to walk on a treadmill doing intervals for 30 minutes a session.
  • Post 10 days, they were told to show if there are any changes in their mood.
  • These results suggest that engaging in exercise, even for a short period of time, have a big impact on mood.

Safe and easy for most people, including kids

  • Cardiovascular exercise is recommended for most groups of people, even those who are older or who have any chronic health conditions.
  • The key is working with our instructor and doctor to find what works best for you and is safe in our situation.
  • Even children should get regular aerobic exercise.
  • We must aim to get our child moving at least  60 mins   each day.
  •  Moderate activities are good, but kids should get into the vigorous zone for at least three days a week.

Affordable and easily accessible

  • We don’t need any fancy equipment or a gym membership to work out.
  • Daily exercise can be as easy as a walk for 30mins around your neighbourhood or going for a jog for 40mins with a friend /partner.

Types of Aerobic exercises:

Walking

  • Stronger leg muscles
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Better cardiovascular fitness

Running

  • Running is an inexpensive exercise we can do anywhere at a time. It is beneficial in helping to improve our heart and bone health.
  • It has an advantage over walking that it improves heart fitness and burns kilojoules at a greater rate.
  • It usually takes an hour for a walker to burn the same calories that a runner can burn in just 30 minutes.
  • Jogging is a kind of slow running at a slower motion which is still a great form of aerobic exercise.

Please note

  • We know that running is a high-impact exercise, hence the injury risks is more than with normal walking.
  • Few problems that can happen include knee injury, ankle sprains etc.
  • If we are not normally active, it’s important to start with regular walking first before gradually building up to jogging or running, and speak to your doctor before starting any new exercise program.

Swimming

It is a low-cost workout for the whole body especially the muscles of the back, shoulder and arms and also improves the flexibility.

It’s a good way to exercise if we are overweight, pregnant or have joint problems as the water helps support our weight and can reduce the pressure on your joints.

Please note:

  • It is less effective for weight loss compared to walking or running. It is also not a weight-bearing exercise.

Aqua-aerobics exercise

  • These sessions are done in a swimming pool and are available at some fitness centres.
  • It  is a kind of low-impact exercise.
  • It’s particularly suitable for anyone who’s pregnant, joint problems and is overweight or unused to exercise.

Please do note:

  • It is less effective for weight loss and doesn’t improve the bone strength.

Cycling

  • It is an aerobic workout as well as being a low-cost form of transport
  • It’s efficient for improving leg strength and toning leg and buttock muscles but with less stress on joints compared to running or walking.
  • Spinning classes are available at some fitness centres. Those are another indoor cycling option
  • They involve simulating different biking activities on a stationary bike
  • For example, cycling uphill or sprints.

Rowing

  • It is a form of low-impact which acts as an alternative to running or cycling.
  •  It can improve heart fitness and strengthen the muscles of the upper body, back and abdomen.
  •  We can enjoy rowing outdoors by joining a rowing club or hiring a rowboat, or even using a rowing machine at the gym etc
  • Please note that whether we are rowing on water or indoors, it’s important to use the correct technique to avoid injury, especially to the lower back.
  • Few   injuries include knee pain, tendonitis in the wrist and blisters on your hands.
  • if we use a rowing machine at the gym, we need to ask a qualified instructor.
  • If you row outdoors, we also need to be able to swim and wear a life jacket, also know how to row safely.

Boxing

  •  Boxing is a form aerobic workout that boosts upper body strength.
  • Boxing classes are available in many gyms.
  • Some classes involve sparring with a partner We take it in turns to hold a pad or pads while the other person punches them while wearing boxing mitts.
  • But we need hand-eye coordination to punch a pad or punching bag.
  • We won’t get a black eye because there’s no combat involved, but there’s a risk of injury to hands and wrists if we are punching a pad or punching bag.
  • Many gyms provide boxing mitts, we need to bring your own cotton gloves to wear inside.
  • Aerobic or ‘cardio’ classes are available in most gyms and community centres.
  • These classes keep us moving to music using a variety of different exercises that raise our heart rate.

Please do note:

  • That the classes can vary in their intensities and some classes are more suited to beginners than others.
  • As with running there’s always the chance of injury to knees or ankles, but a good instructor should ensure us to exercise correctly to reduce the risk.

Dancing

  • Faster styles of dancing such as jazz, hip hop, African and Latin American can provide an aerobic workout. It also improves flexibility and bone strength.
  • It’s also an indoor activity that we can perform in all weather conditions.
  • Dancing classes are available in many community centres, gyms and dance schools etc
Recommendation for exercises
  • The Department of Health and Human Services recommends for healthy adults:
  • At least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of intense aerobic activity per week, or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity.
  • The guidelines suggest that we must spread out this exercise throughout the week.
  • Moderate level aerobic activity includes activities such as brisk walking or swimming, while intense aerobic activity includes activities like running, swimming, playing sports like football and basketball etc.
  • Overall try aiming for at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day. If we want to lose weight, maintain weight loss, gain more health and fitness benefits, or meet specific fitness goals, work to increase your activity even more.
  • For example, we can try to aim for 60 minutes or more of moderate physical activity a day.
  • Some people debate that we can get an effective and efficient workout in half an hour if we use the time wisely, but if we want to make real progress, we should be working out for 45 minutes to an hour at max. 
  • It’s also recommended that spending 10 minutes warming up and mobilising your body, 30-40 minutes weight training, and five-10 minutes cooling down and stretching, 
  • Also, half hour workouts can be useful for conditioning sessions or even interval training.
Most important thing which can’t get ignored
  • Everyone who trains on a regular basis, having 7/8 hours sleep on average each night is very important.
  • After the training, the body then grows stronger, starts burning fat and rebuilding damaged muscle tissue when we are sleeping.
  • So, if we don’t get enough sleep, we will be surely be inviting trouble.

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Subarna ghosal

Subarna Ghosal, a graduate and postgraduate in Food and Nutrition from the University of Calcutta and also a Certified Diabetes Educator from. Dr Mohan's Academy (NDEP), worked with ABBOTT as nutritionist, GOQiias lifestyle Counsellor and healthify me as a nutritionist. and also has specialization in Sports Nutrition from IAPEN believes in making lifestyle changes which are Specific measurable attributable. My main motto is to spread awareness and make people aware of the complications of the disease and how we can manage by easy remedies.

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