Aerobic Classes Benefits
There are many types of aerobics classes, but all forms of aerobic exercise have one thing in common: They provide an important cardiovascular workout which has multiple health and wellness benefits. Cardio exercises are any activity which keeps the heart rate pumping to at least 50% of its capacity over a sustained period of time. In addition to the opportunity to burn calories and lose weight, the American College of Sports Medicine cites the following benefits of 30 minutes per day of moderate aerobic activity:
- Strengthens the heart
- Reduces the risk of heart disease
- Improves lung capacity
- Increases bone density
- Develops endurance, strength, and flexibility
- Reduces stress
- Improves sleep
- Boosts energy levels
- Reduces mood swings
- Counters depression
- Contributes to a healthier, active lifestyle
High Impact Aerobics
High impact aerobics are characterized by high-paced exercises which bring the heart rate up quickly and for an extended period of time. Typical high-impact aerobic activities include jumping jacks, jumping rope, running on the spot, and more. However, while providing an excellent cardio workout, this type of aerobics puts a strain on the knee and ankle joints, increasing the risk of injury. If you have sustained prior injuries to the ligaments or joints or if you are out of shape, you may want to consider low impact aerobics. In general, the key to an effective high impact aerobic workout is to not work so hard that you run out of oxygen (making your workout anaerobic).
Low Impact Aerobics
Low impact aerobics avoids excessive pounding and typically involves side-to-side steps, forward-backward marching, and raising/lowering the knees slowly as to soften the impact on the joints. Gentle on the joints and muscles but still effective, low impact aerobics is a great way to work out and is safe for people who have chronic health problems, are overweight, or are pregnant.
Step aerobics entails stepping up and down from a raised platform or “the step.” It combines aerobic activity with strength training and toning and is popular among men and women alike. There are beginners and advanced step aerobics classes, featuring specific exercises such as the “L-Step,” “3-Knee-Repeater,” and more.
Kickboxing is a particularly popular type of aerobic exercise also known as cardio-kickboxing. Kickboxing classes provide a full body workout and share similarities with boxing training. Typical exercises include:
- Knee strikes
- Push ups
- Abdominal crunches
- Jumping jacks
- Leg lifts
- Self-defense moves
Take many of the exercises you do land into the water and what you get is an aqua aerobics class! Conducted in the shallow end of the pool for beginners and in deeper water for more advanced participants, aqua aerobics is a fun, safe, and very effective way to exercise, get your heart rate up, and stay fit.
Moreover, water workouts have the added bonus of offering resistance in every direction, providing great muscle toning and strength building without the stress of ‘pounding’ your joints and muscles. The water pressure also helps circulate blood in the body, while the lower gravitational pull allows for greater range of motion. Working out in the water also prevents overheating, allowing you to exercise for longer, and aqua aerobics is especially suitable for people who are recovering from injuries.
However you like your aerobics, aerobic exercise will keep you and your heart pumping and in good shape for a long time to come.