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Aerobic training or cardio training is one of the three major elements of a good quality fitness routine. It can be the most important for certain groups of people. It’s the one way to reduce cholesterol, and the major way to drive down blood sugar on a regular basis for diabetics. It’s important for those with any type of heart disease (with your doctors blessing of course) to increase cardiovascular fitness and strengthen the heart muscle. It’s important for everyone to do in order to burn calories and to strengthen and maintain a strong heart muscle. It also helps to reduce stress, you can actually feel your frustrations melt away with the sweat coming out of your pores!
To make the best of your aerobic workout you need a heart rate monitor. To calculate your aerobic range, which is 60% to 85% of your maximum heart rate, you deduct your age from 220, then take that number which is your maximum heart rate and multiply it by .60 and .85 arriving at your aerobic range. Using the heart rate monitor, exercise with your heart rate between those two numbers for a minimum of 30 minutes three times per week. As your heart becomes stronger, you should work up to four times per week, or go to 45 minutes three times per week to get the best results.
You can use a road bike or a stationary bike, the streets or the treadmill or any of those machines lining the walls of the gym, just choose your favorites and get going! Just for fun try every one of the machines for 10 minutes each the next time you’re at the gym.
I just finished reading an article in Time magazine that described a study that proved exercise improves memory. The article began by explaining that the memory loss we all experience beginning in middle age is normal (I’m happy to hear). Initially it was a research completed on rats that showed exercise produced new neurons in the brain. The research was then tried on humans, one hour on the treadmill four times per week proved to increase blood volume in the brain. Those same people went through memory tests before and after, and there you have it – better memory! It was aerobic exercise specifically, so get your heart rate up often.