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The word aerobic literally means “with oxygen” or “in the presence of oxygen.” Aerobic exercise is any activity that uses large muscle groups, can be maintained continuously for a long period of time and is rhythmic in nature. Aerobic exercises utilize oxygen as the major fuel for sustaining activity for relatively long periods.

In general, aerobic exercises are those activities that require large muscle work, elevate the heart rate to between 60 percent and 80 percent of maximal heart rate, are continuous in nature and are of 15 to 60 minutes in duration. An aerobically fit individual can work longer, more vigorously and achieve a quicker recovery at the end of the aerobic session.

Aerobic exercises fall in two categories:

Low to Moderate Impact aerobics – These include walking, swimming, stair climbing, step classes, light water aerobics, rowing and cross-country skiing. Nearly anyone in reasonable health can engage in some low- to moderate-impact exercise. Brisk walking burns more calories than jogging for the same distance because it takes more time to walk than jog that distance and poses less risk for injury to muscle and bone.

High-Impact aerobics – Activities that belong to this group include running, dance exercise, tennis, racquetball and squash. High-impact aerobics should be performed on alternate days. People who are overweight, elderly, out of condition or have an injury or other medical problem should do them even less frequently and only with clearance from their doctor.

Here are some of the many aerobic exercises you can do and because of the variety you have to choose from, it can not only take the bordum out of doing it, it can make doing it downright fun as well.

1. Walking
Walking is a popular form of exercise because it requires little in terms of equipment or facilities. Walking an extra 20 minutes each day will burn off 7 pounds of body fat per year. Longer, moderately-paced daily walks are best for losing weight.

2. Jogging/Running
In jogging or running, an individual is able to cover greater distances in a shorter period of time. Therefore, greater numbers of calories can be burned per time spent.

3. Choreographed Aerobic Exercise
Choreographed aerobic dance is a very popular form of exercise throughout the world. Aerobic dance helps in toning up the muscles of the body and many people find it fun to do as well.

4. Step Aerobics
Step aerobics incorporates the use of a step or bench typically about one foot wide and three feet long and about six inches high. Instructors use many moves that require participants to step up and down from the platform. This way, the activity will not be boring and tiring, but will be lively and motivating.

5. Water Aerobics
Water aerobics incorporates a variety of movements from both swimming and land aerobics to develop vigorous routines that are aerobic in nature. It utilizes the resistance to movement that water creates to elevate heart rates and also helps you if balancing yourself on land is difficult. It is a good way to lose weight.

6. Swimming
Swimming is a very popular form of regular exercise. Due to the resistance of water, the amount of energy required to swim a certain distance is greater than that needed to run or walk the same distance. In other words, swimming can burn more calories than running per time spent.

7. Stationary Cycling/Bicycling
Stationary cycling or bicycling are excellent forms of aerobic exercise when done continuously. Like swimming, cycling is a non weight bearing activity that builds muscular endurance and strength and improved flexibility of selected muscles of the legs and thighs.

8. Jumping Rope
Jumping rope can be a great aerobic workout as long as it is performed at     a slow to moderate pace and is done continuously for a relatively long period of time (15 minutes or more).

The key to effective weight loss is through use of a healthy exercise program which is performed on a regular basis while following a healthy dieting & nutritional plan. Aerobic exercise is good for weight loss because it uses more calories than other activities and helps raise your metabolic rate.

This helps your body burn calories at a faster rate. It is an effective way to lose fat only if you are motivated enough to do it frequently. Aerobics only burns fat during the workout itself. So if you want encouraging results you need to be able to exercise daily and for longer periods.

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Have exercise misconceptions prevented you from starting an exercise program? Clear up any confusion and let these exercise tips improve your workout routine. Hopefully none of these common exercise myths, mistakes and misconceptions have prevented you from working out.

1. Common Mistake: Failure to set goals. Do you exercise without a clear goal in mind? Having a clear goal set is a critical step in exercise and weight loss success.  Tracking your progress in a journal will help ensure you see your improvements, will help motivate you and help you meet your ultimate goal.

2. Common Misconception: No Pain, No Gain. Pain is your body’s way of letting you know something is wrong. Do not ignore this. When you go beyond exercise and testing yourself, you will encounter physical discomfort and need to overcome it. An example of this would be training for a marathon. It is important that you have the “base training” before getting into the advance training. The base training develops the body and gets it ready for extensive training. You need to learn to “read” your body. Is the heavy breathing because you are pushing your body or could it be the beginning of a heart attack. Exercise is important. Do it correctly and you can do it for the rest of your life.

It is normal for you to hurt after you exercise, but it must be done gradually with a good amount of rest periods to allow proper healing. There are two common problems here with beginning exercisers. You can cause long lasting damage to muscles, tendons and ligaments if you work out while you are in pain, without allowing enough rest time to heal. You might find yourself in constant and long lasting pain if you do this which means that you will no longer be able to exercise.

If you wake up the next morning after you exercised and can barely drag your aching body out of bed because everything hurts, you are going to be less motivated to exercise at all. Constant pain is a sure way to kill your exercise program.

3. Common Mistake: Sacrificing Quality for Quantity. When you are ready to increase the number of reps of a particular exercise, and strengthen the corresponding muscles, instead of forcing yourself to do a little more each time try decreasing the number of reps in a set but increase the number of sets. Also, back off to half your usual number of reps but add a couple of more sets. You will feel less tired and will be able to gain strength in your fast-twitch muscles.

4. Common Myth: Weight Training Makes Women Bulky. Weight training for a woman will strengthen and tone muscle, burn fat and increase metabolism, not build mass. Women do not produce enough of testosterone to build muscle mass the way that men do.

5. Common Mistake: Over-Emphasizing Strengths. You should start focusing on your points rather then what you are good at. This will help you balance things. For example, if your lower body is stronger than you upper body, then try to work only on this area one day a week.

Being smart about how you exercise will take you a long way. It is important to have a healthy body so get out there and start exercising today.

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Whether you are at your ideal weight or striving to reach your weight goal is it simply a matter of burning more calories than you take in? The answer, I suggest, is no! Overall body health improvement as well as weight gain or loss must be factored in to the equation or you could be heading for problems. Correct nutrition can help to reduce the risk of a miriad of health-related problems, the most frightening of which are surely heart disease and cancer. Proper nutrition, however, entails eating many different foods, monitoring your consumption of some food and beverage items, and counting calories. Good diets offer balanced nutrition that reduces cholesterol, blood pressure, and helps with weight control.

To function properly, your body must have the correct combination of nutrients:

Carbohydrates. They are the primary source of ammunition in your diet. The body uses carbohydrates to build glucose which can be used immediately or stored in your body for later. Too much glucose, however, is stored as fat. There are two types of carbohydrates – simple and complex. Sugars are simple carbohydrates. Starches and fibers are complex carbohydrates.

Proteins. Proteins help your body build and maintain muscles and other tissues. They also function in the creation of hormones. Like carbohydrates, excess protein is stored as fat.

Animal and vegetable are the two major types of proteins. Too much animal protein can cause high cholesterol, as it is high in saturated fat.

Fat. Strange as it may seem; fat is another nutrient your body requires. It comes in both saturated and unsaturated forms. Saturated fat puts you at risk of health problems. Unsaturated fat is healthy, but if it goes through any type of refinement process, it can become saturated fat.

Vitamins. These are also required nutrients. Different vitamins perform different tasks within the body. They can work with the metabolism to help with energy levels for any task you can think of that you need your body to perform. It has also been noted that certain vitamins can prevent disease.

For example, vitamins A, C, and E, also called antioxidants, can assist with the prevention of coronary artery disease by keeping build up from occurring on artery walls. Vitamin B-1 is needed for digestion and proper nervous system function. Vitamin B-2 is needed for normal cell growth. Vitamin B-3 helps to detoxify your body. Folic acid assists with production of red blood cells. Vitamin D assists with the absorption of calcium. Vitamin K helps your blood clot.

Minerals and trace elements. These are another nutrient your body requires. Both are used in many different body processes. Minerals like chlorine help make your digestive juices. Phosphorus helps build strong bones. Both can be found in the foods we consume, but with a trace element, your body just needs a tiny amount. Salt is one final nutrient your body requires. You should not consume more than 2400 milligrams per day, though, as it might raise your blood pressure.

You should follow several guidelines to create a well balanced, nutritional diet. First, try to consume two and one half cups of vegetables and two cups of fruit each day. When making your selections for each day, be sure to choose a good variety. A good rough guide is to eat as many different colors as possible, this will help you to select from all five vegetable subgroups at least four times per week.

You should eat at least three ounces of whole grain products each day. At least half of your grain intake should be whole grain based. Milk should also be part of a healthy diet. Consume at least forty-eight ounces of low fat milk or milk products on a daily basis. Your total fat intake should only be between ten and thirty percent of your calories. Most of the fats you consume should be in the form of unsaturated fats, as saturated fats can do much to damage your health. Meat, poultry, dry beans, and milk or milk products should all be lean, low-fat, or fat-free. Less than ten percent of your calories should come from saturated fats, and you should always try to avoid trans-fatty acid.

Fiber-rich fruits, vegetables and whole grains should be a regular part of your diet as should potassium rich foods. Alcoholic beverages should only be consumed in moderation.

Excellent nutrition is the basis of a healthy diet.

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