When setting up an exercise routine it is important to
achieve a balance of strength training and cardio work. Many people want to
concentrate on hitting the weights because they want to develop their muscles
but an equally important part of physical fitness is doing aerobic activity to
increase stamina. Aerobic work should be done over an extended period of time at
a slow and steady pace.
Walking, running and biking are all examples of aerobic
activities. Dancing, kick-boxing and swimming are others. Whatever activity you
choose, it is important to get the blood pumping and your heart rate elevated.
The target heart rate is going to depend on your age, for a 35 year old it is 93
to 138 beats per minute. It is important to keep the activity intense enough to
be above 93 beats per minute but not too intense that your heart is beating over
138 times per minute. To calculate your heart rate take your pulse for a 10
second period and multiply the number of beats by 6. When you begin your
exercise program start in the lower range of your target number and gradually
work your way up but do not exceed the maximum.
Aerobic activity will also help with weight control.
Working at a slow and steady pace will burn calories as you are completing your
exercise program. After 30 minutes of walking at a brisk pace you would have
burned approximately 250 calories. A similar session of bicycling would erase
350 calories and swimming at a moderate pace for a half hour will burn
approximately 250 calories. There are also studies which suggest there is a long
term fat burning effect which occurs from the boost that aerobic activity
provides to your metabolism.
In addition to the physical benefits of aerobic activity
many people insist it provides a mental lift as well. Recent research shows that
exercise can help people suffering from depression and anxiety though scientists
are not sure exactly how it does that. Some suggest that exercise serves as a
natural mood enhancer and others say the exercise relieves muscle tension and