The 5 Best Aerobic Exercises for Maximum Health Benefits
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In 1968, Kenneth H. Cooper, MD, MPH, developed the Aerobics Point System and determined that aerobic exercise was best form of fitness to produce beneficial changes in the respiratory and circulatory systems, improving your total health.
What exactly is aerobic exercise? In Dr. Cooper’s book, Aerobics Program For Total Well-Being, he defines it as an endurance activity which takes place over a relatively long time period and depends on establishing a balance between the intake and expenditure of oxygen. In other words, the exercise is being performed with the body in a steady state.
Today millions of people have followed Dr. Cooper’s research to join the fitness revolution. Here are the top five exercises that provide the maximum aerobic benefits.
1. Cross-Country Skiing
Do you prefer to do your workouts in the snow? Cross-country skiing is the top aerobic activity because more muscles are involved with each movement. In this activity, you must use your arms and legs to propel your body forward. The more muscles you utilize, the more aerobic benefits you gain.
This activity typically takes place at high altitude and cold weather, so your body uses more energy and muscles throughout your workout.
Swimming is an effective activity to increase your heart rate and burn calories, along with getting your body in an aerobic state. This exercise allows for a total conditioning effect since you utilize major muscle groups throughout the body as you swim.
Many swimmers often find that they experience less injuries and pressure on their bones and joints due to the buoyancy of the water. In Dr. Cooper’s book, Aerobics for Total Well Being, he points out that you can swim up to 10 miles per day and get in excess of 1,300 aerobic points per week without any great danger of pulling a muscle or harming a joint.
3. Running or Jogging
First, it is important to establish the difference between running and jogging. If you are running slower than a nine minute mile, Dr. Cooper would suggest that you are jogging.
Running and jogging are both great options for aerobic conditioning. Whether you run at the gym or outside, you are in control of setting the intensity of your workout. When aiming to build muscle mass, you can add more resistance or jog at an incline, along with increasing your speed. In turn, you can build more muscle and prolong your calorie expenditure after your workout. It is also beneficial for you to take long strides to work your muscles through a long range of motion. This can help prevent strain and tightness in your muscles.
If you want to relieve pressure on your joints from the pounding of running, try using an elliptical trainer. Watch a video to learn the proper form and how to reap optimum benefits.
4. Outdoor Cycling
If you suffer from joint problems, cycling can be a great activity due to a reduced pressure on your joints and muscles. In outdoor cycling you must overcome the resistance of the bike, along with propelling your body weight.
To get the most out of your workout, Dr. Cooper recommends aiming for a cycling speed slightly above 15 miles per hour to receive the most aerobic benefits.
Walking is a great way to get in shape while applying minimal stress to your joints. Whether you are young or old, active or inactive, walking can be done by almost anyone, anywhere.
Although it can take longer to reach the same aerobic benefits from walking as opposed to running, you can make your workout more challenging by increasing your incline on a treadmill or walking up more hills outside.
Embark on Your Aerobics Journey
With any of these top five aerobic activities, make sure that your workouts are not too repetitive on your joints. It is beneficial for your body to incorporate different types of aerobic activities, so try to switch up your routine to avoid overtraining certain muscle groups.
As you integrate aerobic activity into your fitness routine, be sure to incorporate a warm-up, cool-down and musculoskeletal conditioning through weight training and/or calisthenics.
For a full list of aerobic exercises, which includes age-specific information and Aerobics Point values, click here.
To learn more information about Cooper Fitness Center, click here or call 972.233.4832.
Article provided by Cooper Aerobics Marketing and Communications.