The Aerobics Way

By Oscar

Remember when aerobics classes were the most popular way to get and stay fit? Back then, most of the aerobic routines were similar; it wasn’t too difficult to switch from one class to another and still be able to follow the steps.

Modern aerobics classes, however, have changed drastically from those disco-inspired workouts that focused primarily on dance moves and calisthenics. Today’s aerobic classes and videos offer an array of new moves including kickboxing and jump rope, and are set to all sorts of music ranging from jazz to reggae.

No matter how this form of training has changed, though, it is still an optimal workout for weight loss and muscle toning when resistance exercises are incorporated into the routine. Any individual who does aerobics regularly (20 minutes a day, three days a week) will burn fat more efficiently, tone muscles, and improve flexibility, range of motion and muscle performance.

On top of the physical benefits of aerobics workouts, these heart rate-raising programs will increase feelings of confidence and boost self-esteem as well as relieve stress, depression and premenstrual symptoms.

Of course, the first few classes (or video viewings) might be difficult for many; especially with some of the dance steps or other seemingly tricky moves to the uninitiated. The important thing is to stay with it. Once you’ve been introduced to the particular steps used in your aerobics class, practice, practice, practice, in the privacy of your home. It won’t take long until you notice that the steps seem easier to perform during your workout. Eventually, you’ll be kicking, hopping and stepping with the ease of a professional.

Before starting an aerobics program, you’ll need to find an appropriate pair of shoes. Ask a clerk at any local fitness store to show you some good cross-trainer shoes that will provide adequate cushioning, support, flexibility and traction. For people with flat feet, try to find shoes with less cushioning and more support and heel control. For people with high arches, you’ll need increased shock absorption and ankle control. A knowledgeable salesperson will be able to direct you to the best pair of shoes for your situation. It’s also important to replace your shoes after three to six months of regular use.

As the saying goes, “Looking good is feeling good.” That is most likely the premise behind the numerous lines of workout clothing facing the fitness-oriented today. When buying workout wear, look for fabrics that offer breathability and that wisk away moisture. Examples of good materials include polypropylene and thermax. Layer your clothing if the temperature in your workout area tends to fluctuate.

Now that you’re properly suited, it’s time to decide whether you want to workout in a structured class or if you’d like to buy a video and do it from home. Another option is to buy a couple videos and exercise with some friends. With videos, it is easier to pick one with music and moves that you prefer. Whereas in a class, the entire workout and atmosphere is left to the preferences of the instructor. I’ve found, however, that joining a class on a regular basis causes me to exert more effort and commit to showing up more often.

Any aerobics program needs to begin with a five- to ten-minute warm-up in order to prepare your body and mind for the workout to follow. During the class or video, you will most likely check your pulse at least once to determine if you are exercising in your target heart rate (between 60 and 90 percent of maximum heart rate). Finish the workout with several minutes of a cool down, even if it’s just walking slowly. This allows your heart rate to return to normal and your muscles to relax. Some doctors believe that a proper cool down will decrease muscle stiffness, which occasionally follows a tough workout.

Experts recommend that the beginner workout approximately ten to 20 minutes at least three days a week and preferably in a no-impact or low-impact class.

As you become fitter, increase your workout time to 30 minutes, three to five days a week as well as the intensity. An experienced individual can exercise for longer periods of time.

With the various types of aerobics classes and videotapes available to the modern fitness enthusiast, it shouldn’t be too difficult to find just the right one to motivate and drive you to get in shape the aerobics way.

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categoriaFitness commentoComments Off dataOctober 19th, 2012


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