Aerobics is a very important form of exercise which has become extremely popular today. The word ‘aerobics’ means involving or improving oxygen consumption by the body through aerobic exercise. It is a series of physical rhythmic exercise that includes stretching, strength training movements and routines all aimed at improving overall fitness which includes flexibility, cardio-vascular fitness and muscular strength.
Aerobics instructor, Rahul Gohil, says, “It can be done in a group or alone and is usually performed to music. It comprises of various routines or movements or dance-like steps. You always begin with a warm-up of 5-10 minutes, the aerobic cardio-vascular workout of about 30 to 40 minutes and a cool down of about 5-10 minutes and a stretching and flexibility of 5 minutes.”
Aerobics includes dancing, step aerobics, walking, jogging, running, martial arts, kickboxing, cycling, swimming, skiing, playing games, combat sports like karate and other forms of indoor or outdoor exercises.
The American Heart Association and the American College of Sports Medicine recommend 30 minutes of moderately intense aerobic workout five days a week or 20 minutes of high intensity aerobic exercise three days a week to ensure good health and reduce the risk of disease. Aerobic exercisers should aim at achieving 60 to 80 per cent of their maximum heart rate to get the most from aerobic activity
Mental health: Aerobics helps to stimulate the release of endorphins in the bloodstream, which reduce anxiety, depression and stress. It leads to an effect called ‘runners high’. It causes a natural high and a feeling of well-being.
Reduces stress: Psychiatrist and life coach, Dr Nirmala Rao, says, “A fit body is important for a fit mind! Stress is the result of a basic biological response, where the brain sends orders to prepare the body for action, to face any perceived threats and dangers. The adrenaline starts pumping resulting in pent up and unused energy leading to a restless feeling. In such a situation, exercise can use up this excess energy and allow the body to come back to a state of equilibrium.”
Helps to think better: Our minds are often caught up in several thoughts. Many of them are about anxiety, regret, fear, tension and stress. Dr Nirmala Rao says that aerobic activity helps divert the mind thus freeing up our minds to cope with the problem in a calm manner.
Strengthens memory: Zumba, Bollywood and Kathak dancer Yuvraaj Parashar says, “Dance requires you to learn certain coordinated steps and this can help increase your brain power and improve your memory skills.”
Lowers the risk of diabetes: The exercise lowers the risk of diabetes or regulates it because it improves glucose metabolism, reduces insulin.
Promotes a healthy body: Each heartbeat sends blood, oxygen and many other life sustaining nutrients to the various different parts of the body. An aerobic workout increases the oxygen level in the body. More oxygen going to various parts of the body keeps the body healthy.
Good for the heart: Aerobic exercises greatly improve cardiovascular and cardiovascular function because more blood is pumped to the heart. It strengthens the heart muscle and makes it stronger.