1 July 2009
Heading to the gym and working full whack for 30 minutes may feel like you are doing the best for your body, but this isn't necessarily so. To get the most out of your gym workout, jog or cycle, it pays to understand a little more about how exercise affects your body.
There are two main types of exercise: aerobic and anaerobic. The goal is to exercise aerobically, as this burns fat as its main fuel. Anaerobic exercise consists of intense bursts of exercise where you are left exhausted and gasping for breathe. This rapidly burns your body's limited stores of glycogen as its main fuel instead of fat. If you want to burn fat and cardio strength, it is vital that you foster aerobic, rather than anaerobic.
Despite popular myth, exercise doesn't have to be drastic to provide massive physiological benefits. Even light exercise will burn fat. Light exercise clears out lactic acid, a waste product in the body, and stimulates cells to regenerate.
To ensure you're exercising aerobically - burning fat rather than exercising anaerobically - it's important to ensure you do several things. The most important is to breathe deeply as you exercise. Breathe into your stomach through your nose, hold it, then exhale hard through your mouth.
Second, make sure you exercise at a level that's comfortable. If you push yourself too far, raising your heartbeat too high and getting yourself out of breath, you are exercising anaerobically. If you want to burn fat, you should still be able to carry on a conversation while you exercise.
Making the most out of your exercises also means putting in the work. Ideally, you should be undertaking about 30 minutes of aerobic activity a day. This will maximise your energy and fitness levels.
Regular aerobic exercise strongly benefits the heart, increasing its size and strength. By combining deep breathing with exercise, you will also increase the strength and capacity of your lungs.
If you sit down all day it's absolutely vital that you promote blood flow, circulation, energy, brain flow and improve the strength of your heart. Use any break you have from work to engage in some form of movement and deep breathing.
Any form of aerobic activity is highly beneficial, as long as you stick to the rule of keeping the exercise at a comfortable level. You can head to the gym, ride a bike, go for a brisk walk, swim, play sport or whatever keeps your interest.
The key is to maintain a level of moderately raised heart and breathing rate.
Rebounding, using a small trampoline, is an ideal forms of aerobic exercise for the home. This low-impact exercise provides many benefits for you and your body, including aerobic benefits, improved balance and coordination and improved muscle tone. Unlike other good aerobic workouts, rebounding places no strain on the joints of your body, so it's suitable for people of all ages and fitness levels.
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