Aerobic exercise Tips

Read these 21 Aerobic exercise Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Exercise tips and hundreds of other topics.

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The Bike and Knee Pain

Lots of people ride bicycles either in the gym, outside, or even in a spin/cycle class. Interestingly enough a good amount of people that utilize these bikes have knee pain during/after their exercise session...why is that? Let's see.

Anatomically, based upon the muscular and skeletal anatomy of your lower limbs, your knees should be directly below your hips, while your feet are also directly below your knees (and hips) with feet facing straight forward. Also, when walking, we should put the weight slightly on the oustides of our feet, walking onto our heels and using the sides of our feet and toes for balance.

On a bike, watch yourself the next time you do it if you are a person who sometimes feels that pain in your knees. It is caused by the knee going in during the cycling motion (especially during the push). What I mean is the knee is no longer 'in line' with the hip and foot, but instead inside of it, closer to the opposite knee. This causes that pain in the knee joint because the leg is out of proper posture.

Next time you use the bike (whether inside or outside) put more of your weight on the outsides of the feet and consciously think to move your knees slightly out. This should reduce/remove the pain in the knee, making you happier after your exercise session.


Jumping Rope

There are many great benefits to jumping rope regarding your cardiorespiratory system. First off, it's hard! When you were a kid and could do that thing non-stop for hours, boy were you in god shape! It's a tough motion to get used to initially.

Jumping Rope in a forward motion is the most comfortable, and once you are able to do (let's say...) 40-50 in a row, change it up and do it on one foot at a time to make it more challenging on your leg muscles (especially calves). The only problem that I have with Jumping Rope is that of rounded shoulders, since most people only jump forward; this puts all the pushing motion on the anterior (front part of your) deltoid, resulting in somewhat more rounded shoulders. My suggestion? Backwards.

Not only is Jumping Rope backwards darn hard, but it puts more of the motion onto your posterior (back part of your) deltoid. When you get too good at backwards, perform it one foot at a time backwards. This is another challenging thing you can do for your cardio routine.


Intermediate Jumping Jacks

People all the time tell me that when you workout with weights you are not doing any Cardio. I call shenanigans ('deceit or trickery') because that is untrue! Next time you decide to workout, trust me when I say that you will get Cardio/Heart exercise while also tiring out your muscles because of your workout.

Pick 3 or 4 exercises and only do 1 set of each, giving yourself 25-30 seconds of rest between each different exercise set. After you have done all 3 or 4 exercises once, do 50 jumping jacks then rest for a minute or so. Do this routine 4 or 5 times for your workout (should take about 40-50 minutes) and you will be breathing very heavily. That will also mean that you are getting cardiorespiratory exercise and a stellar heart workout.


The Run 'Talk Test'

In general when you run, you do not always want to be pushing yourself to the absolute maximum of your fitness/cardiorespiratory ability. If you're trying to run to stay in good shape and have god heart health, a good test is called the 'Talk Test'. If while running you can still talk and carry on a conversation with little difficulty, you are running at a good pace. If you are running so hard that you have great difficulty speaking, maybe tone it down a little bit; and if carrying on a conversation is easy, push yourself a little bit more. Again, you should be exercising so that you are pushing yourself, and the Talk Test is a good way to check if you're giving yourself a good aerobic workout. Try it the next time you go on a run with a friend, or even during a workout.


Understanding 'Cardiorespiratory' Exercise and the Calories Burned

Some people go to the gym and step on a treadmill, ending up burning 754 calories! While that is fantastic, it is based upon someone who doesn't ever exercise and this is their first time using the treadmill in a long time. Your body gets used to exercise just like your hands are used to picking up mugs or using a fork. Your body will not burn the same amount of calories if you do the same workout over and over again. For example...

Let's say you decide to run mile a day for 3 weeks (resting Sundays). In the beginning you will burn let's say 100 calories. By the end of the first week you will lose 10% of the calorie burn (burning only 90 calories). By the end of the 2nd week of running that mile you will lose 20% of the initial calorie burn (80 calories). Still good, but not great. By the end of the third week, you will have run many miles indeed but have lost over 50% of the initial calorie burn (meaning less than 50 calories/run)! The results will have dwindled.

Now that example is based off of someone who runs with no variables, like on a treadmill. My advice would be to run outside, which would be better since there are variables and you could take different routes, stretching your body and its ability to do work and hence burn more calories. All in all, switching up your cardio routine ('weekly' is a good plan) will help you maintain a high amount of calories burned each workout.

How do I know if the calories burned number is accurate?

Calorie Burning

If you see that a given aerobic exercise burns a certain amount of calories, e.g., running a mile burns 100 calories, be aware that the number is usually based on a 70 kg (154 lb) man. If you weigh more than that you will burn more calories for the same aerobic activity, and if you are lighter you will burn fewer calories.

How can I use dance for aerobic exercise?

Dance for Fitness

For a good aerobic workout, you can dance until you break a sweat to your favorite hip hop or pop music, anything that has a quick beat to it. Try to dance continuously for at least 15 minutes. This aerobic exercise can help you in two ways:

1. You can become a better dancer.
2. You can lose weight while having fun and getting fit.


Recovering from Injuries and Ways to Prevent Future Ones

Lots of people have been injured doing their favorite aerobic activity. Whether it's a sprained ankle, damage to the knee joint, broken toes, etc., it is important that you give your body proper time to heal. Always (obviously if it's serious) talk to your doctor and trust him/her about when to continue exercise. Be encouraged though, because generally when I take a break (1-3 weeks) from aerobic exercise or weight bearing exercise, I see more results after starting up again. Even if it is longer than that, think of it as a new challenge to dominate!

For lots of people aerobic exercise injuries are a result of bad posture, and for aerobic exercise it is generally in reference to our lower body. (Go check out my blog on 'The Squat' to learn more about proper lower body posture) Flattened feet, knees that come together and lower back rounding are all good causes of why we might hurt ourselves in an aerobic activity setting. So, here are some interesting ways that we can strengthen our lower bodies in a functional way.

Ever seen a treadmill? Hope so. Try walking backwards on it. This is going to give you a great workout for your glutes and hamstrings while also strengthening the muscles in your feet. Make sure that as you walk backwards you're extending back far, standing nice and tall, while making sure you are stepping equidistantly back with both legs. Also try walking sideways on the treadmill (switching directions halfway) to exercise your adductors (inner thighs) and abductors (outer thighs), while also strengthening the muscles in your feet. (seeing a trend?) If you stress your feet to function in awkward movements, you will be training them to be strong and firm, and in most cases help prevent more injury while still allowing for great recovery and long-term benefit.

Don't knock it until you try it. If you try it, then you can knock it. Another good idea is using the elliptical backwards (same principle) or just doing any of the treadmill exercises I just mentioned on the ground.

How can I be sure I stay in the fat burning zone?

No Fat Burning Zone

Although you burn a higher percentage of fat calories at slow and moderate aerobic intensities, you burn more total calories, and more total fat calories, when you exercise at higher intensities. You may choose to work out longer and/or slower for various reasons, but never slow down just because you think that's necessary to be in a "fat burning zone."

How should I swing my arms when powerwalking?

Cardio or Aerobic?

Cardiovascular (cardio) exercise refers to exercise that strengthens the cardiovascular system. Aerobic just means in the presence of oxygen, and aerobic exercise refers to exercise that lasts long enough to require oxygen. The same type of exercise satisfies both of these qualifications, and the terms cardio and aerobic exercise are used interchangeably. Aerobic/cardio exercise uses large muscles, usually the legs, in a rhythmic fashion. Examples are running, walking, bicycling, swimming, cross-country skiing, rowing, skating, and machines such as stair steppers and elliptical trainers.

Should I breathe through my mouth when I work out?

Breathe Through Your Mouth

To improve your aerobic conditioning, you should work hard enough that you just naturally start breathing through your mouth to get enough oxygen. It is sometimes recommended to breathe only through your nose to minimize effects of air pollution, but this limits the intensity of your workout. Avoid pollution by working out early or indoors, if necessary.

What is the best way to warm up for aerobic exercise?

Warming Up

The best way to warm up for aerobic exercise is to start out doing the same exercise you are going to use for the workout at an easy pace for a few minutes. Then launch into a regular intensity workout. For example, if you're going out for a run, start with easy jogging, or even walking, depending on your fitness level. You may need a longer warmup in the morning or in cold weather.

Is it ok to always do the same workout, or should I work harder?

Improving Fitness

People who have higher cardiorespiratory fitness have fewer cardiovascular risk factors than people who are less fit, even if the less fit are equally or more active. This means you should improve your cardio (aerobic) fitness by challenging yourself instead of always doing the same workout. Move up a level on your bike or stair stepper, or try interval training: work hard for 2 or 3 minutes, then recover slowly for the same time. On the track, run a lap briskly followed by a slow lap. Do 4-8 intervals after a warmup once or twice a week instead of your regular workout, as a change of pace.

How can I get a good workout on stairs?

Stair Running

Running up stairs is a time-honored way to improve aerobic conditioning. Take them 2 at a time if you're athletic and consider them to be part of your interval training. Even if you're new to exercise, you can benefit from walking up stairs whenever you get a chance. The calories burned will add up, and your conditioning will improve. If you have trouble finding time to exercise, take 10 minutes once or twice a day and walk up and down stairs at work (or before or after). Hold on to the rail if you need to.

What is the best aerobic exercise?

Which Workout?

The effectiveness of aerobic workouts depends on intensity and duration. As long as you get your heart rate into a training zone, any form of aerobic workout will have the same effectiveness if maintained for the same time. So you can use any type of exercise you enjoy, or go from one aerobic workout mode, or one machine, to another. No type of aerobic exercise is inherently better than the others. Your heart doesn't know the difference.

Which is the best program to use on the Lifecycle?


The old Lifecycle equipment offers three different profiles: hill, random, and manual. Level 1 in difficulty on manual corresponds to 2 on random, and 3 on hill, etc. Hill is the easiest for beginners.

The Lifecycle is calibrated to ride smoothest at 80 RPM, so you are not making it easy on yourself to go slower than the recommendation. This is also true of many other exercise bikes. The recommended rpm will give you the smoothest ride and the best workout.

How can I get rid of lactic acid in my body?

Lactic Acid

Lactic acid is largely metabolized within 20 minutes of ceasing aerobic exercise and totally cleared within a few hours. Whatever is causing you pain the morning after aerobic workouts or making your shoulder crackle while weight lifting, it's not lactic acid.

Are group rebounding classes any good?

Choose the Right Class

Everything taught in the "aerobics" room is no longer aerobic. So many different kinds of classes are offered that the proper term is now "group exercise" rather than "aerobics." To qualify as aerobic exercise, a class must have continuous movement that raises your heart rate. You will find the old aerobic standbys like low impact, high-low, and step, and many dance-based classes that are aerobic. Some, but not all, martial arts-based classes qualify. Stretch and tone doesn't make it. Neither do pilates or yoga, though these are great exercise modes for other purposes. If you count on classes for your aerobic exercise, make sure you choose a class that includes at least 20 continuous minutes of movement you do on your feet.

Is it true a StairMaster will develop my butt too much?

Stair Climbers

Stair climbers are excellent machines for cardiovascular conditioning. They are not meant for strength training and will not give you big muscles.

The major muscle group used is the quadriceps. Stand upright on the machine and use the hand rails only for balance. If you support your weight on your arms and take tiny steps, you can light up the display but will not be getting the aerobic workout you need. Use a lower level if necessary and do the work with your legs, taking a 6-8 inch step, keeping your foot flat on the pedals. This will burn calories, improve cardiovascular function, and strengthen your bones.

How is the Step Mill different from stair climbers?

Step Mill

The Step Mill is like real stairs, offset and requiring you to lift your foot as the stairs go by. In contrast, your foot stays on the pedal with stair climbers. The Step Mill adds a little impact to your workout, and is somewhat harder to use, so take it easy when you start out. You may want to hold the rails lightly for balance.

Is in-line skating a good cardio workout?

In-line Skating

In-line skating can give you a great cardio workout. How long and how fast you skate affects the quality of the aerobic workout, but even moderate in-line workouts are good. Start out easy to warm up, and wear protective gear. There's a learning curve to skating, but if you practice and don't push yourself, you can master it. Consider a lesson if it doesn't come easy to you.

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Nicholas Frank