The word "cardio" is commonly used in T&T to describe various forms of aerobic exercise. In T&T when you use the word "aerobics" most people immediately conjure up images of women jumping up and down to the latest dance music; but this is aerobic dance, which is only one form of aerobics; it would be incorrect to say that this (aerobic dance), totally constitutes aerobic training.
Aerobic exercise can be defined as any physical activity that elevates your heart rate into your target, training heart rate zone for a period of 40 minutes or more. This would mean that disciplines such as running, biking, swimming etc, are all aerobic in nature. The reason why the words cardio and aerobics are always loosely interchanged is because of the positive impact that aerobic exercise has on your cardiovascular system.
The pros of aerobic training
Aerobic exercise (running, biking etc) has proven to be the best form of exercise for strengthening the cardiovascular system, which means it keeps your heart, lungs, arteries etc, healthy and clean. To reap maximum benefits from your aerobic workout, you should calculate your individual, training heart rate zone using the Karvonen formula; this will ensure that you are training at the correct intensity. Apart from the positive effects on your heart, the benefits of aerobic exercise include:
• Helps to lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
• Normalises blood pressure levels.
• Lowers body fat percentage.
• Increases level of cardiovascular endurance,
• Gives you a feeling of well-being.
The cons of aerobic training
There are some people in T&T, who are quite content to only perform aerobic training. This is a big mistake! These people are usuallyseen running themselves into the ground everyday, or trying to participate in as much aerobic dance classes as possible.Too much aerobic training can create many negatives which include:
• An assortment of injuries such as heel spurs, severe hip, knee and lower back injuries.
• Putting your body in a catabolic mode, whereby you begin to lose muscle mass. Loss of too much muscle can have a negative impact on your metabolism.
• Losing your body shape; you will begin to look straight without any sexy curves; this isn't hard to comprehend when you consider that muscle is what gives your body curves. On a personal note, I very much prefer the powerful look of a sprinter, who engages mainly in anaerobic training, as opposed the emaciated, hungry look of a marathon runner, who has to have a very strong aerobic base; but then that's just my opinion.
Mixing upyour workout
I am not suggesting that you should completely shut down your aerobic programme; I just think that in addition to your aerobic training, it is vitally important for you to do some weight training in order to maintain balance in your physique. The benefits of weight training include:
• Better body shape.
• Increased metabolism in the post workout phase.
• Stronger joints, ligaments and tendons.
• Increased body strength.
I think most people can reap many benefits from a 3 aerobic/3 weight training sessions per week.
With this sort of fitness programme, you will maintain a healthy cardiovascular system and a great body shape.
Brian Chin Leungis a certified personal trainer