Aerobic, or “cardio” exercise literally means ‘with oxygen’, and requires pumping of oxygenated blood by the heart to large muscle groups for a sustained period of time.
Any exercise which makes you sweat and breathe harder is counted as aerobic exercise.
HOW MUCH SHOULD YOU DO?
To be effective, aerobic exercise should be performed for 30 – 60 minutes, three to five times a week. To sustain this, you should choose an activity you enjoy. The other option is to do Quick HIIT (High Intensity Workout Training), which can get the same results in less time.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
- Your heart gets stronger and will pump more blood with each beat, known as ‘stroke volume’. Top athletes sometimes have stroke volumes double the average size.
- Greater stroke volume means the heart doesn’t have to pump so many times to send blood around the body during exercise. This is why many athletes have resting pulse rates as low as 40 bpm.
- Muscles become more efficient at removing oxygen from the blood. You will therefore have greater endurance as your muscles won’t run out of oxygen so quickly.
- Mitochondria increase in number by up to 50%. These are the powerhouse of the cell – utilising the oxygen to burn the carbs and fat that make you move. This can happen within just a few days in response to exercise.
WHICH IS THE BEST AEROBIC EXERCISE?
There are many ways to boost your cardio. But which is the best? The answer is the one you will enjoy and work hardest at.
Here are some popular cardio workouts:
- HIIT - Many people swear by High Intensity Interval Training workouts. Some research suggests that HIIT produces superior results to standard aerobic activity and that HIIT is also the best way to burn off fat. This Tabata workout is good for those looking for a challenge.
- Kickboxing is another very effective cardio exercise. It conditions the whole body, so you won’t have to do any other workout.
- You don’t have to run for miles for an aerobic workout. Burpees can give a killer cardio workout in your own home.
- Walking – being one of the easiest aerobic exercises, walking should be done as much as possible by everyone,. You can adjust the intensity to challenge yourself, no special equipment is required, and you can do it pretty much anywhere!