As a fitness instructor, aerobic fitness is like olive oil to a chef — it’s a basic necessity. Without it, our ‘masterpieces’ wouldn’t be the same. Aerobic exercise is any activity you do continuously that uses major muscles. This kind of movement gets your heart rate and brings blood to your working muscles. This ‘good stress’ also alters your brain chemistry, giving you a sense of euphoria and wellbeing.
Today’s challenge is to do 30 minutes of physical activity. How hard should you work to get the benefits of aerobic exercise? When I work with new clients, I have them walk, run, or ride a bike at a level of intensity that is challenging, but they can still talk …but only some.
Examples of Physical Activity
- Biking to work
- Walking the dog
- Playing soccer
- Running on the trail
Remember that magic pill? Check out the magic in these amazing results:
Benefits of aerobic exercise
- Reduces your risk of chronic disease — heart disease and stroke
- Decreases blood pressure and cholesterol.
- Improves your balance and coordination
- Helps you lose weight
- Improves mental health — boosts your self-esteem, helps with anxiety and depression, promotes enthusiasm and optimism.
- Prevents bone loss
- Boosts energy level
- Helps manage stress & releases tension
- Helps you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly
Don’t let this part of your fitness become a chore. Instead, think of it as an adventure — challenging, exciting, and different. Find a new trail, sign up for a 5K in a different city, go rock climbing, meet up to walk with a friend. I can’t think of the last time I got on my bike and said “I am going to exercise for 30 minutes.” Usually I can’t wait to get on my bike to feel the fresh air on my face or meet my boyfriend on the trail. When riding becomes a chore, I know something is wrong. The mindset to your fitness will decide the outcome, so keep it positive and exciting.
This month is American Heart Month, which is a great movement to educate and inspire millions about living a healthy life. The American Heart Association’s physical activity recommendations are 150 minutes per week or 30 minutes a day for five days for moderate exercise levels.
Exercising at a vigorous level is good for you. Mix up your a walk with a good hill or put an extra riser in your next step class. If you are doing vigorous activity (where little to no talking is possible), then 75 minutes per week is recommended.
Taking steps to improve your health also include how you eat. Team Better nutrition writer Jen sets eating challenges to help with this piece of improving your health. Here are more great tips for good nutrition to get you off on the right foot.
Okay, lace up your shoes, get some good tunes on, and let’s do it! Rock on, ladies.
- Garber CE, et. al. Quantity and quality of exercise for developing and maintaining cardiorespiratory, musculoskeletal, and neuromotor fitness in apparently healthy adults: Guidance for prescribing exercise. Medicine & Science in Sprots & Exercise. 2011;43(7):1334-1359.