The fitness or health attained by means of aerobic activities can be simply termed as aerobic fitness. The word aerobic is basically an adjective associated with something that requires air. As there is an increase in the cardiovascular diseases in modern society, the need to take care of our fitness becomes imperative. Different activities categorized as cardiovascular exercises include running, swimming, cycling, etc. These exercises (and their intensity, frequency, duration, etc.) have to be performed on the basis of fitness levels of a person.
How to Improve Aerobic Fitness?
The tests required in determining fitness through aerobic exercises form the parts of discussion in following paragraphs. Obtaining the know how of different tests and using this knowledge in performing exercises should prove to be useful.
These tests are meant for checking levels of fitness by making use of exercises like jogging or walking. The activity of walking 1.5 miles at a steady pace is commonly used in such exercises.
Walking Test: One shouldn’t eat anything, two hours before the test. A flat path needs to be chosen for running and jogging. One would require a stopwatch to conduct the test. The time required to complete a distance of 1.5 miles should be recorded with this stopwatch. If it is not possible to complete the 1.5 miles distance all by jogging/running, one can start of by the low impact aerobics like walking.
Swimming Test: The swimming test which lasts for 12 minutes is considered a standard one. Swimming is the best aerobic exercise for weight loss. Those who already swim on a regular basis, should resort to this activity. The swimming test is not meant for those with arthritis of shoulders. The problem of shoulder arthritis aggravates in case of people who are not used to swimming. Swimming for 12 continuous minutes is not easy for first-time swimmers, even if they workout on regular basis. During the actual test, one should count number of laps being covered in 12 minutes. Depending on the laps covered in this water aerobic routine, one can rate his/her fitness levels.
Cycling Test: The Astrand bike test is used to check fitness levels during cycling. The cycling activity should continue for 6 minutes at a certain level of resistance. It is recommended to record the heart rate every minute. This would require a person to help in performing the activity efficiently. A nomogram can be used in the calculation of oxygen consumption.
According to the definition given by American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), aerobic exercise is an activity involving rhythmic and continuous movement of large muscle groups. The heart and lungs have to work harder than normal. Determining the target heart rate should be useful before resorting to any of the aerobic fitness exercises. The target heart rate for a person is calculated in terms of a range. To calculate this range the following formula should be used.
Minimum Heart Rate = (220-Age) x 0.60
Maximum Heart Rate = (220-Age) x 0.90
The numbers calculated using these formulas should constitute the target heart range. Few of the aerobic exercise examples used for maintaining fitness levels include aerobic dance, walking, jogging, running, cycling, swimming, stair climbing, jumping rope exercise, in-line skating, cross-country skiing, etc.
Performing aerobic exercises is mandatory for good health. However, carrying out the activity in a controlled manner i.e. by taking into account the target heart range and other aspects of fitness is also important.