Starting An Aerobic Exercise Program
Even if you spend most of your time behind a desk or some other sedentary activity, most people can safely start a moderate aerobic exercise program. It is recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine that men over age 40 and women over age 50 and any person that has risk factors get a complete medical examination before beginning an aerobic exercise program. Older and more sedentary individuals should increase the duration and intensity of workouts more gradually than younger, more active individuals. The overall risk associated with exercise at a moderate intensity level is far lower than that of a more intense workout.
Most people do not get in their cars and immediately race to 65 m.p.h. or better, and you should avoid doing the same with your moderate aerobic exercise program. Your cardiovascular system needs to be prepared for your workout. Blood flow needs to be increased to the lings and the temperature and elasticity of your muscles need to be elevated to help you avoid injuring yourself. Walking around briskly for approximately five minutes is one way to do this. Your body will be able to more easily make the transition from resting to exercising.
People are often taught to stretch during their warm-up period, however, there is little empirical evidence that says it is actually needed unless the exercise includes moving joints beyond their normal range of motion. Studies suggest that stretching is of more usefulness if used to increase range of motion and should be performed during the cool down portion of your aerobic exercise program.
It is recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine that the target heart rate is reached for twenty to sixty minutes during your moderate aerobic exercise program. This can be in one session or two to six sessions of no less than ten minutes over the course of the day. The target heart rate is between 55% and 85% of the maximum heart rate for an individual. The maximum heart rate is typically 190 beats per minute.
After you have reached your target heart rate and held it for awhile, you will want to have a cool down period. The worst thing you can do is simply stop, you can put your heart at risk if you do this. Standing or sitting after your aerobic exercise program can cause blood to pool in your legs. To avoid this, you should keep moving, although at a reduced pace. This will help to keep the necessary amount of blood flowing to your heart. Optimally, you walk at a comfortable pace for five or ten minutes at the end of your aerobic exercise program. After this period of walking is when you should perform your stretching.
Be certain to keep yourself hydrated during your aerobic exercise program. The length and intensity of your workout will determine if you need to replace fluids during your routine. It is advised by the American Dietetic Association that you drink two cups of liquid, preferably water or sports drink, two hours prior to exercising. Two cups is sixteen to twenty ounces. You should drink another two cups fifteen to twenty minutes before your exercise session. If you exercise outside and it is hot and humid, you should drink smaller servings, four to six ounces, every fifteen minutes as you exercise. After completing your moderate aerobic exercise program, it is a good idea to drink two cups for every pound of body weight lost. For this reason, you need to weigh yourself before and after exercising. Avoid drinking energy drinks.
In the beginning, you should start slowly. It is recommended that your target heart rate is 55% percent of your maximum heart rate if walking. If you do not want to buy an electronic heart monitor you can use this rule of thumb: If you can sing as you walk, you are walking too slowly; if you cannot talk as you walk, you are walking too quickly.
You should increase your workout intensity and/or duration in a gradual manner. An example might be increasing your walking time five minutes every two weeks until you reach sixty minutes. You can also increase your pace. Your target heart rate should be your guide. By this point it may be necessary to purchase an electronic heart monitor. However, by this point, you should be able to know if you are raising your heart rate sufficiently.
After you are able to exercise at your target heart rate for twenty to sixty minutes three to five times a week, there is little or no added benefit from pushing even more. As a matter of fact, there seems to be only increased risk of injury from trying to work harder at this point. Instead of trying to raise your target heart rate you can add ankle weights and carry small dumbbells.
A Moderate aerobic exercise program can be started by most anyone. If you use your head for more than consuming calories, then you will be able to easily start your own program. Other posts concerning specific aerobic activities will follow soon. You can do it! Good health to you.