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Importance of Aerobic Exercise

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The word Aerobic literally means “using oxygen.”  Aerobic exercises help utilize oxygen in the body during exercise.  Through aerobic exercise the body is trained to use oxygen more efficiently and improves overall cardiovascular fitness.  Usually an aerobic activity is one that is performed for an extended period of time at low, medium or high intensity.  Beachbody provides several fitness programs that fit into one or all of these levels.

Insanity and The Asylum would be considered high intensity aerobic exercise programs.  The workouts last between 20 minutes to just under an hour.  During a typical Insanity/Asylum workout I will burn approximately 700 to over 1,000 calories and my peak heart rate would reach 171.  That’s not too bad for a 37 year old.  The same goes for P90X plyometrics.  Although I would consider the other cardio workouts in P90X to be in the low to medium range.

Chalean Extreme, Turbo Fire and Turbo Jam are also great aerobic exercise programs.  Chalean Extreme also combines weights as well.  I have seen these programs provide maximum benefits to both men and women alike.

Research suggests that an average person should spend 20 minutes using aerobic exercise five to six days per week.  If you have been exercising for a while and can do more than 20 minutes at a time, then continue to increase your intensity and duration.  If you’re just starting out with an aerobic fitness program, even 20 minutes a day might be a tremendous accomplishment.

What are the benefits of an aerobic exercise program?

*Improved breathing

*Increased energy throughout the day

*Improved heart health

*Decreased blood pressure

*Decreased stress

*Better Sleep

*Improved mood and mental functioning (I definitely need more of this)

*Improved digestion

I’ve heard for years that if you are breathing too heavily to carry on a conversation easily, you should ease up a bit.  The healthier you become, the more you will be able to increase the intensity and longevity of your workout.  However, there is a concept called the overload principle.  The idea is that in order for you to benefit from physical activity, the intensity has to be greater than your body is used to.  By pushing your body pass your current limit or “overloading” it, your body will grow stronger.  I have definitely experienced the overload principle while performing a round of Insanity or The Asylum.  When I finished these programs there was no doubt I had increased all of the above and gotten myself in the best shape of my life. 

I would also suggest that while working out with an aerobic exercise program like, Insanity, The Asylum, Turbo Fire or Plyometrics (P90X) that you use a heart rate monitor.  I bought one online from Best Buy a few months ago and I wouldn’t go through a cardio day without it.  Mine is a Timex Personal Trainer with chest strap.  It not only tracks high/low heart rate, but also calories burned, time working out and time in your fat burning zone.

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