The word ‘aerobic’ means ‘with oxygen’. So any physical activity that makes you move your major muscle groups(legs), in a rhythmic, systematic manner, elevates your heart rate and creates a demand for oxygen for a sustained period( at least 20 minutes), is called an aerobic activity.
The benefits of aerobics are plenty. Studies have found that it lowers the risk of heart disease, and regulates blood pressure and cholesterol levels. For diabetics, it has an insulin-like effect, and hence keeps a check on blood sugar. Regular aerobics improves your respiratory function, and is therefore beneficial to those suffering from asthma or other respiratory ailments.
Apart from these, it is great for weight loss, strengthening your bones and joints and improving your blood circulation to release endorphins (the happy hormones).
5 Tips to Keep in Mind
Before you start your aerobics session at home, here are some pointers –
1. Engage in an aerobic activity at least 3 times a week, for a minimum duration of 20 minutes and at an intensity that makes you breathless and yet enables you to talk. About a 5-7 on a scale of 1-10 in terms of perceived levels of exertion. It should be moderate to moderately hard.
2. Start gradually in terms of duration and intensity. Warm up adequately before picking up the pace. Ensure that proper form, posture and alignment are being maintained throughout.
3. Include a cool down to gradually bring down your heart rate and some stretches thereafter.
4. In case of any orthopaedic issues, keep the impact low. Avoid high impact activities or activities that have frequent and quick directional changes.
5. Swimming or aqua fitness is great for those with arthritis and other joint issues.
Six Aerobic Exercises That Can be Done at Home
1. Bear Crawls
The longest length of your living/bedroom can be utilised to do some bear crawls. You need to use your hands and feet with your hips slightly higher than your knee, and crawl from one end of the room to the other for a few minutes. Then you can do shuttle runs for the next couple of minutes. I.e. run between the two ends as quickly as you can, followed by brisk walk or jog. You can repeat this above circuit 3-4 times before cooling down.
You can do this activity in several different ways. For starters, skip at an intensity that you can sustain for as long as you can. Walk around and recover for a bit and then repeat that process for 15-20 minutes at least. Skipping is a high impact activity, so make sure your knees are slightly soft when you land. Ensure that you wear appropriate shoes for it. Avoid if you have any orthopaedic issues.
3. Cardio Circuits
You can do cardio circuits of skipping, jogging in place and knee ups. Perform 2-3 minutes of each in a circuit and repeat 3-4 times.
Scale up the intensity by running and brisk walk to decrease it. Same with the alternating knee ups. You can hop to bring down the intensity.
4. The Five Minute Circuit
You can start with:
1 Minute of alternating travel lunges: Hands on waist or overhead ( harder variation).Step forward with your right leg and lunge till the knee touches the ground, lift yourself up by pushing off through the heels, bring left leg in and then place left leg forward to lunge and repeat.
1 Minute of Burpees: Place your hands on the floor by pushing your hips back and bending you knees. Extend the right leg out and then left leg to plank position. Allow chest to touch the ground. Then push off with your hands to a push up position, bring right leg in and then the left leg and extend knees and hips to standing. A harder variation of the Burpee is to clap your hands overhead as you jump, push hip back and bend knees to get hands on the ground. Jump to plank. Let your chest touch the ground. Push up to plank position. Jump and get both feet in to low squat and then jump to standing.
1 Minute of Skipping: You can skip to your desired intensity.
1 Minute of Step Touches: Step out with your right leg to the side and bring the left leg in and tap. Repeat with left leg. Harder version can be done by leaping with your right leg to the side, bring the left leg in but do not let it touch the ground and repeat with left leg. (speed skating).
1 minute of Jogging/Jumping Jacks/ Brisk Walk: Take a minutes rest after the circuit and repeat 3-4 times. There is no rest period in the five minute circuit. After a minute seamlessly move onto the next exercise.
5. Squat Jumps + Skier + Mountain Climbers + Jumping Jacks
Squat Jumps: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and toes turned out slightly. Push your hips back and lower till it drops below knee level and jump up or stand. Repeat for 30 seconds and rest for 30 seconds.
Skier: Spilt jump with right leg in front and the left leg back and with left arm going overhead and right arm at the back, switch and repeat for 30 seconds. Rest 30 seconds.
Mountain Climbers: in the plank position, keeping your hips stable and aligned with shoulders and ankles in a diagonal straight line, bring right knee in towards right elbow and quickly switch. Repeat for 30 seconds and rest for 30 seconds.
Jumping Jacks: jump out with both feet to side and arms going overhead at the same time. Jump and bring feet and arms in. Repeat for 30 seconds and rest for 30 seconds.
Repeat from squat jump 4-5 times.
6: Squats + Mountain Climbers + Sit Ups
Squat jumps for 30 seconds and hold the bottom of the squat for 30 seconds and rest for 30 seconds.
Mountain climbers for 30 seconds, hold plank for 30 seconds and rest for 30 seconds.
Sit ups: lie on you back with knees bent and feet on the floor. Keeping arms over head, let it touch the ground and sit up to allow your hands to reach towards feet and shoulder to cross the hips. Perform for 30 seconds and hold sit up position at the top for 30 seconds and rest for 30 seconds.
Repeat from squat jump for 4-5 times.