The best aerobic exercise will force you to breathe faster and it will also help improve cardio fitness. We will list the different types of aerobic exercise, not to be confused with deep breathing exercises, and how they contribute to your health related fitness.
Any activity which increases your need for oxygen and forces you to breathe faster, is defined as a type of aerobic exercise.
I like to go cycling in the fresh air.
Please read our General Disclaimer before you start any new exercise program.
As you read in my subsection, Breath for Life, it is the act of breathing that brings oxygen into your body. Oxygen gives your body the energy which assists with the transportation of nutrients to all cells of your body. Those nutrients are extracted from the foods that you eat and from the supplements that you might take and they are metabolized by the body to give you energy and build living tissue.
If you are already doing the cardiovascular exercises described in “how to improve cardio fitness”, you will automatically also be doing aerobic exercises.
By necessity, when you increase your heart rate, you increase the need to boost the oxygen supply to your body which causes you to breathe deeper and more often.
Just like cardiovascular exercises, the best aerobic exercise should be rhythmic. This means that you will have a workout and recovery section. There is a correlation between your heart rate and the rate at which you breathe, a rule of thumb if you like, as I have indicated in the table.
The first column of the table, indicates the percentage from your maximum heart rate while the second column lists the effects on your breath and your ability to carry on a normal conversation.
To get your cardiovascular exercise component, you should typically be exercising at between 55 and 80% of your maximum heart rate (MaxHR) which is calculated as follows:
MaxHR = 208 – (0.7 x your age)
Please read through my page, How to Improve Cardio Fitness for an explanation of target heart rates.
The best aerobic exercises are those performed outdoors in the fresh air, where there is an abundance of oxygen.
There are several activities that come to mind such as cycling, swimming, jogging, mountain hiking, aerobic dancing, playing football or any time of sport that involves sprinting from time to time.
Whichever activity you select to be your best aerobic exercise, start slowly and steadily increase the level of difficulty every second week. The whole point is to enjoy it and you are not going to enjoy it if you start pushing and hurting yourself.
You should adopt a rhythmic pace to your exercise also known as interval training.
Start off slowly for about five minutes. This is the warming up stage.
If you are not using a heart rate monitor, use your breathing as an indication of the percentage of your maximum heart rate as I have indicated in the table above.
Continue in this rhythm for the duration of your exercise which should be for about 30 to 40 minutes.
Don’t forget to cool down for about 5 minutes.
After cooling down, stand up with your hands on your hips and take 5 deep breaths as follows:
The reason for holding your breath is to allow the blood to fully oxygenate and activate the lymphatic system. In other words, to absorb the oxygen into the blood stream and for the lymph to release the toxins into your lungs.
The reason for exhaling for twice as long as inhaling is that it is the breathing out which releases the toxins, in the form of carbon dioxide, from your body. You need to ensure that you are getting them all out.
Aerobic exercise such as I have indicated above, should be done for six consecutive days with a day of rest in between. Play around with the intervals and the level of intensity to find the rhythm that best suits you.
Whether you choose to do cardiovascular exercises as described in the improve cardio fitness subsection of this site or your best aerobic exercise, enjoy doing it. There is no point to exercising if you are not enjoying it. This page is part of my section on The Benefits to Exercise. In the next subsection, Laura will tell you all about Yoga.