Aerobic training (training, exercises), aerobics, cardio-training is any kind of physical activity in which a lot of muscles are involved and a lot of oxygen is consumed. Aerobic exercises are performed with low and medium intensity, and they also have a dynamic, continuous and long-lasting nature of execution (more than 5 minutes), which is accompanied by a high heart rate and rapid breathing.
Typical aerobic workouts are running, walking, swimming, cycling, dancing, active games, etc.
Aerobic endurance primarily depends on the functional state of the cardiovascular system, which provides the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the muscles. Therefore, aerobic training is also called cardio training, and aerobic endurance – cardiovascular stamina.
Aerobic training zone can be calculated on the basis of the maximum heart rate (MCHS) according to the formula for men: 220 – age; for women: 226 – age. The aerobic regimen suggests 70-80% of the maximum heart rate (MНR).
Pulse (beats / minute)
|VO2 (maximum intensity)|
|Anaerobic regimen (high-intensity training)|
|Aerobic mode (cardio / endurance)|
|Weight control (fitness / fat burning)|
|Moderate activity (recovery / warm-up)|
From the point of view of biochemistry, aerobic exercise is a form of physical activity in which muscle movements are performed due to the energy obtained during aerobic glycolysis, i.e., the oxidation of glucose by oxygen.
Aerobic workouts are designed to increase body stamina, tone up, strengthen the cardiovascular system and burn fat.
However, it should be remembered that under aerobic loads, energy consumption slightly increases. At the same time, the fact that most of the daily intake is basic metabolism, which slows down after the cessation of aerobic exercise, is ignored. This is due to the fact that the body needs resources to restore the lost. Moreover, the more energy stored by fat cells will be spent, the stronger the body will try to compensate for the losses, storing for future use and slowing down the metabolism. In order to minimize the negative effects of aerobic exercise, you will have to limit your daily calorie intake.
The term “cardiovascular” or “aerobic” exercises refers to a type of physical activity that is of considerable duration, is a combination of movements of a large number of muscles and other body systems and is usually accompanied by an increased rhythm of heart contractions. Examples include walking, running, cycling, swimming and skiing. The word “aerobic” literally means “absorbing air.” This directly indicates the role of oxygen in the oxidation (“burning”) of carbohydrates and fats for the production of adenosine triphosphate – the main form of energy used in cellular reactions. The advantages of aerobic training include improving heart and lung function, lowering blood pressure, activating metabolism, strengthening immunity, increasing self-esteem and level of stress resistance.
This type of exercise is one of the most important components of maintaining health and vitality. In order to choose the right type and level of aerobic exercise, as well as to make exercises as safe and effective as possible, you should be guided by the following principles and concepts.
The frequency of training refers to the number of lessons per week. To improve cardiovascular activity, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends aerobic training 3-5 days a week. For beginners and people with a low level of physical fitness, for starters, it is recommended to conduct three workouts per week with an interval of no more than two days between them (for example, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays). Over time, their number can be increased to five.
As the level of physical fitness and the intensity of training increase, their frequency begins to depend on the load. Relatively difficult workouts require more time for subsequent recovery than training with moderate loads, especially with a low level of physical fitness. Therefore, to achieve some progress, it is necessary to alternate short, but intense workouts with longer, but associated with lesser loads. At the same time, this reduces the risk of injury.
The most optimal method for determining the intensity of a workout is to measure the heart rate during exercise. There is a correlation between the amount of oxygen consumed when performing a certain activity, the heart rate and the benefits received from training at such rates. There is evidence that the greatest benefit to the cardiovascular system brings training in a certain range of heart rate. Below this level, training does not give the desired effect, and above it leads to premature fatigue and overtraining.
There are various methods to correctly calculate the level of heart rate. The most common of them is the determination of this value as a percentage of the maximum heart rate (MHR). First you need to calculate the conditional maximum frequency. In women, it is calculated by subtracting their own age from 226. The pulse rate during training should be in the range of 60-90 percent of this value. For long workouts with a reduced load, a frequency of 60–75 percent of the MHR is chosen, and with shorter, but more intense workouts, it can be 75–90 percent.
The percentage of the MHR is a rather conservative formula, and people who are physically well prepared during aerobic training are quite capable of exceeding the prescribed values by 10-12 beats per minute.
They better use the Carvonen formula. Although this method is not as popular as the previous one, it can be used to more accurately calculate oxygen consumption for a particular physical activity. In this case, the resting heart rate is subtracted from the maximum heart rate. The operating frequency is defined as 60-90 percent of the value obtained. Then, the pulse rate at rest is added to this number, which gives the final benchmark for training.
Ask your instructor to demonstrate how your heart rate is calculated during a workout. First of all, you need to find the point at which the pulse is felt (for this the neck or wrist is best suited), and learn how to correctly count the heartbeats. In addition, many simulators in gyms are equipped with built-in heart rate sensors. Individual sensors are also available that can be worn on the body.
If you are taking medications that affect your heart rate at rest and under stress (such as those prescribed for hypertension and other diseases of the cardiovascular system), consult your doctor.
Types of Aerobic Exercises
The type of aerobic exercise is largely determined by your capabilities and environmental conditions, as well as the level of physical fitness, self-esteem and personal preferences, especially when they are performed outdoors.
Some exercises, such as walking, running and cycling, are purely aerobic; the load during their implementation is permanent (Type 1). Others, such as swimming, aerobics and tennis, require certain skills and are quite difficult to perform (Type 2). For the third, for example basketball and mountain bike, a variable load is characteristic and they require considerable strength and flexibility (Type 3).
If you are a beginner and have a low level of physical fitness, then it is probably better to start with exercises of the first type. Young and physically developed people require more variety, so they will be more interested in doing exercises of types 2 and 3.
In some exercises, you need to overcome the weight of your own body (for example, walking). In others, body weight is less important (e.g. swimming). It is also necessary to take into account the so-called skeletal load (physical effects on joints and bones). This difference can best be explained by walking (low skeletal load) and running (high skeletal load). With a high skeletal load, the likelihood of injuries increases, so such exercises should be treated more conservatively and not expected a quick progress.
All these aspects must be considered when choosing training programs. For example, if you are prone to frequent knee injuries, running is unlikely to be ideal for you. Walking or swimming is best for you. If you are a beginner with a low level of physical fitness, then in order to prevent injuries, it is better to choose exercises that are not related to overcoming your own body weight and high skeletal load. They can be included in your program only as the level of physical fitness increases.
The recommended duration of aerobic activity is 20-60 minutes, not counting the warm-up and stretching exercises after training. However, if your level of fitness is not high enough, you can start from 5 minutes and gradually increase the duration to 20 minutes. Those for whom this is too much can be limited to 5-10 minutes, but at the same time increase the frequency of training. In women with an average level of physical fitness, aerobic training should last 15–45 minutes, and if they are above this level, then 30-60 minutes.
In general, the duration of classes should gradually increase as the body adapts to training. Best of all, if the nature of the movements the warm-up corresponds to the upcoming workout. For example, if you are going to run, brisk walking or jogging are suitable for warming up.