With people being contained to their homes this year as well, one may consider stepping up your workout routine. Aerobic exercises are not only beneficial to build strong bones, improve muscle strength, endurance and flexibility, but also to reduce the risk of heart disease, hypertension, stroke, diabetes and some cancers.
The benefits go beyond physical with research suggesting that it may improve your thinking and memory in just six months.
“Walking, running, bicycling, swimming and cross country are a few popular aerobic activities. To get the most out of your aerobic exercise, flexibility and strength training exercise should be worked into your fitness routine,” says orthopaedic sports surgeon Vonda Wright, MD, FAAOS.
To strengthen your cardiovascular system, it is important to increase your heart rate for 20 to 60 minutes at your target heart rate each time you exercise. Exercising at your target heart rate ensures your body is exerting enough energy to reap the benefits. To accurately track how hard your body is working, calculate your target heart rate and track beats per minute. A general calculation to determine your target heart rate is 220 minus your age.
“The FITT principle of exercise is an effective guideline to follow for aerobic activity,” says Dr Wright.
“Standing for frequency, intensity, time and type, the FITT principle can provide the building blocks for an optimal workout. No matter what you’re trying to achieve or how your goals change over time-toning up, improving strength, speed, or endurance, or losing weight-you can seamlessly apply the FITT Principle to stay on track. The key is to keep your heart rate steady and to exercise to your fitness level in order avoid injury.”
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons suggests these safety tips to eliminate injury while taking part in aerobic activity.
Consult your doctor. If you have a pre-existing condition, are overweight, a smoker or haven’t been active in a while, consult with your physician before beginning a new exercise routine.
Wear appropriate shoes. When selecting a pair of running shoes, look for good shock absorption and construction that will provide stability and cushioning to the foot. Make sure that there is a thumbnail’s width between the end of the longest toe and the end of the shoe. Buy shoes at the end of the day when your foot is the largest.
Warm-up and stretch. Warm-up with some easy callisthenics, such as jumping jacks. Continue with walking or light running for five minutes. Gentle stretching of the back, hamstrings can be helpful.
Cool down and stretch. Never skip stretching at the end. Stretching can help reduce muscle soreness and keep muscles long and flexible. Slowly and gently stretch after activity, holding each stretch for 30 seconds.
Hydrate. Even mild levels of dehydration can hurt athletic performance. If you have not had enough fluids, your body will not be able to effectively cool itself through sweat and evaporation.