Exercises which require a lot of oxygen, but simultaneously increase the oxygen in our body, are known as aerobic exercises. The world over, fitness experts advise such workouts for losing weight and toning your body.
Aerobic exercises are sustained and rhythmic activities involving large muscle groups that challenge the lungs and heart, as oxygen is required in large amounts for these exercises. They are probably the most basic and oldest form of exercises, and include jogging, running, cycling, climbing stairs, etc.
The oxygen intake is where the energy comes from, and hence these exercises make our bodies transport oxygen using the red blood cells more efficiently. Doing aerobic exercises, therefore, also increases one’s stamina.
The great thing about aerobic exercises is that they can be mixed around to form new innovative exercises, hence they do not get boring. Also, these exercises can be done at a slow pace if you are a beginner. Then you can gradually increase the intensity, as your heart gets used to the more challenging exercises.
Given below are some aerobic exercises that can vary from light to moderate to heavy intensity. Keep in mind that the intensity of these exercises depends on the way you perform them. For example, cycling can be a light intesity exercise as well as a heavy intesity exercise, depending on if it is done on an incline, done for a longer period of time, or done as part of an interval training workout.
Low-Intensity Aerobic Exercises
Mowing Your Lawn
As weird as it may sound, mowing your lawn (provided you are not using an automatic lawn mower) is a great light-intensity aerobic exercise as it involves continuous walking against the resistance provided by the weight of the lawn mower. Obviously, for this to have any effect, it should be done for a reasonable amount of time, like at least 30 minutes a day.
Taking the Stairs
Unless you stay on the 97th floor of the Empire State Building in New York, just a simple decision to not take the elevator in your residential building and use the steps, can improve your cardiovascular condition. The same principle can be applied to your office or a shopping mall. Yes, it will undoubtedly seem unnatural and a difficult task at first, but doing so can be a great way to stay in shape without wasting any time. However, if you suffer from knee pain or any knee-related issues, avoid this, as climbing steps puts a lot of pressure on the knees.
Brisk walking, which is nothing but walking slightly faster than normal, is also a great aerobic activity. Since it is so easy to do, here the important thing to do is to be consistent. This is especially good for elderly people. Brisk walking, too, should be performed for a minimum of 20 – 30 minutes a day, for it to have an effect.
Moderate-Intensity Aerobic Exercises
Jogging is nothing but running at a mild pace. This is one of the most popular and oldest form of aerobic exercises. If done consistently, it can really aid in burning fat and making one’s body fitter. The best part is that it can be done virtually anywhere, even at home, if you decide to buy a treadmill.
Swimming is also a very popular aerobic exercise. The best part about swimming is that along with incorporating many muscles and movements at the same time, it is a non-impact exercise, as none of the joints are in contact with any solid surface. This is one reason swimming is recommended when someone is injured.
You hate exercising at home or sweating it out in the gym, but you love to dance. You also want to stay fit and ensure good health. So what do you do? Well, the answer is simple. Either join an aerobic dancing class or get hold of such a video. Watch the video and perform the exercises simultaneously.
Cycling on a Plain Road
Cycling is a fun way to stay fit as one is able to cover long distances without getting very tired. It also serves as an opportunity of sightseeing along with providing a good aerobic workout.
High-Intensity Aerobic Exercises
Interval training means continually shifting between high-paced and medium-paced aerobic activities. For instance, running at medium pace for 40 seconds and 20 seconds at high pace, over a period of around 20 minutes without rest is a good form of high-intensity aerobic exercise. This can be applied to any aerobic activity, and is especially great if you want to burn off fat quickly.
Cycling up an incline, like cycling uphill, can be a great way to challenge yourself. This is not an easy thing to do as you are continually pushing your leg muscles to the extreme to overcome the resistance offered by the incline. You can run uphill too, but this is not recommended as it can put a great amount of stress on the knees.
You don’t have to worry if you cannot find an actual boat and a water body, as most gyms these days have machines that simulate the action of actual watercraft rowing. This is a great offbeat exercise and is good for fitness.
Playing a High-Intensity Sport
This is probably the best thing to do as far as an aerobic activity is considered. Playing a game of soccer or basketball, or any other sport that involves sustained cardiovascular activity, can really improve your fitness. The best part is that, along with helping your fitness levels, it is a lot of fun too.
Aerobic exercises should be combined with anaerobic ones to achieve an optimal balance and a fit body. So without any hesitation, put on your shoes and get going!!
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only. Always consult a physician before starting any physical fitness program in order to reduce the risk of injury.