Aerobic training – what is it? And why should you do it?

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Whenever I hear the word ‘Aerobics’ I get a picture of Jane Fonda in leg warmers. I remember studying Sports Science back in 1995 in Sydney and it was a very competitive course to get into. 4000 people applying for 90 places. It was seen as a great thing to do at the time and a super fun and promising career. The only problem was that most people who applied thought they would be kicking a footy around or doing aerobics all day long. The reality was a pretty serious science degree including physics, chemistry, biomechanics, physiology and anatomy. This saw about 40 people out of the original 90 who got in actually make it to graduation.

That being said, there was one course we had to do later in the degree, and that was teaching an aerobics class. We all thought this was pretty stupid in light of all the other mind bending stuff they had got us to do to that point, but it was a prerequisite for reasons that remain unknown. Maybe it was comic relief for the lecturers in seeing science nerds jump around like Richard Simmons. Now, I saw myself as aerobically fit, and when I had last done aerobics in the 80’s, it was a million repetitions of the same thing, which any idiot could do if they were persistent and crazy enough to keep pushing… I was that idiot. I decided that I should get myself ready for my compulsory teaching of the class (with or without leg warmers) and do a few aerobics classes at the local gym to brush up on what I thought would be fairly similar to what I had already done all those years back… Negative on that one. Some time between 1984 and 1995, aerobics went from mindbogglingly boring and repetitious movements to highly choreographed dance moves that only someone with the rhythm of Lionel Richie and the dance brain of Fred Astair could do without screwing up royally – i.e. going in the wrong direction just about every time the instructor barked out a strange order like ‘grape vine’ (hoosywhatsit?) with a pointing finger, jaunty jump and endlessly smiley face. Anyway, long story short (and to the original point of this blog!) I taught an aerobics class….albeit very badly (definitely providing comic relief with my two left feet) and it dawned on me that aerobics training comes in all forms.

The sciency bottom line we learned in the classroom was that aerobic training is super good for your cardiovascular system and you really should do it. Imagine an old car that hasn’t been run for a while and then after starting it, all the back firing, the spluttering and the smoke. Then watch how the running of the engine, over time, starts to clear out and it begins to sound smoother and the exhaust looks cleaner. Now think about your arteries and how they transport energy, nutrients, waste products and oxygen in your body. Don’t you think they would do a better job if they were regularly used – you know, maintaining the elastic nature of the wall of these arteries by being utilised with nourishing work? Imagine what happens when they never get pushed. Seizing up and hardening comes to my mind…

So what is aerobic training? It is any large muscle group exercise that gets the heart rate up to 60-85% of it’s maximum (maximum = approx. 220 – your age). You will probably see other definitions and other nuances to it, but to keep it simple, it is stuff like rowing, swimming, paddling, running, cycling, dancing (including aerobics of all kinds) and yes even walking. The ACSM who is somewhat of an authority on all this state and I quote:

  • Adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week. 
  • Exercise recommendations can be met through 30-60 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise (five days per week) or 20-60 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise (three days per week).
  • One continuous session and multiple shorter sessions (of at least 10 minutes) are both acceptable to accumulate desired amount of daily exercise.  
  • Gradual progression of exercise time, frequency and intensity is recommended for best adherence and least injury risk.
  • People unable to meet these minimums can still benefit from some activity.

I would listen to them and get it happening. We are predominantly a personal training business, but we have a small group training program too. It is a bit of an intro to working with us and there are approximately 5 places (as of now) available, depending on what classes you are interested in. You can find out more here about this exciting training. Why so exciting? Well, who wouldn’t be excited about clearing the gaskets out and doing some good old fashioned aerobic training? I can’t promise we are all in leg warmers, but I am not going to object if you want to wear them! In the mean time, start walking if you aren’t already. There are too many benefits to it to mention here and you really don’t need to ask anybody if it is okay. Just do it. If you want to do a bit more and push yourself, check out our exciting aerobic training options here.

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