About Aerobics
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Before, During and After Aerobics

When youíre starting aerobics, the temptation is to throw yourself into it, and thatís fine as long as youíre careful.

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Even if you’re late to class, it’s important to warm up, stretching your muscles and getting your heart rate up gradually.

If you try to do too much, your body will take revenge by burning fat less efficiently, (or by hurling you to the floor with a charley horse). So be patient, Grasshopper, and know that as long as you are exercising at no more than 75% of your maximum heart rate, you are burning fat at an optimal level.

In this case, more is not better, and may be worse, as working at high intensity (85% of maximum heart rate and above), actually causes your body to reduce by about 65% the amount of fat it is burning.

If that isn’t enough incentive to keep your heart rate in a reasonable realm, bear in mind that “maximum heart rate” is the number of beats your heart can beat per minute right before you drop dead from overexertion. You don’t ever want to approach your maximum heart rate!

More is also not better in terms of duration.

Your workout should be at least a half an hour, but after sixty minutes of exercise, your body stops burning as much fat. There’s no sense in overdoing it. Your body understands moderation and will fight to conserve some of that fat: you might need it tomorrow!

Overexertion can also increase the chance that your muscles will be sore the day or two after exercising. When your body doesn’t provide enough oxygen to its cells during exercise (as in anaerobic conditions), cells react by creating lactic acid, and it’s the build up of lactic acid in the muscles that causes soreness.

Most aerobics instructors give two sets of instructions – one for advanced students and one for beginners. Resist the desire to look like an advanced student, or tomorrow you will feel like you’ve been run over by a truck (and the second day after overextending yourself in a workout is even more painful). Do the low-impact routine until it starts to get easy (and that could take weeks), then move into the higher-impact stuff gradually as you learn the steps and your fitness level improves. Not sure how to tell the difference between low and high impact aerobics? The lower-impact workout will have you stepping or walking the dance steps while the higher-impact workout has you bouncing or hopping them. As you raise your fitness level, your movements will become bigger, too, and you’ll be covering more ground when you travel.

Your goal is a moderately intense workout, which will cause your body to burn fat at its highest rate – between one-half to one gram of fat per minute. One easy way to check the intensity of your workout is to see whether you can talk while exercising. The genius of a good aerobics instructor is partly in the ability to create interesting choreography to match the music. You should be able to talk without gasping: you should not be able to sing.

Continue reading the next aerobics article on warm up exercises

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