What is your preferred aerobic exercise mode? Do you even have one?
If you have decided to improve your cardiovascular fitness (heart, lung and circulatory fitness) what are your options?
Here is a list of 3 groups of exercise, intended to compare energy expenditure(calorie burning) and exercise intensity. If we are improving our aerobic fitness this means we are improving our ability to utilize oxygen. We need oxygen to transform stored energy into a form that our muscles can use to produce movement. When we move, we use calories. The number of calories we use will depend on our exercise intensity and the duration of this intensity. Check out the different aerobic modes of exercise to see what one you most likely would engage in.
(This following info was found in an article by Len Kravitz, exercise physiologist, called “Calorie Burning; It’s time to think “Outside the box” 7 Programs that burn a lot of Calories” and within that article he quotes the American College of Sports Medicine 2006 Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription. I like this list of aerobic exercise modes because it is quite simple and to the point.)
Exercise mode Group I
Consistent intensity and energy expenditure that is not dependent on the participant’s skill level, eg. walking, stationary cycling, running, machine based stair climbing and elliptical training
Exercise mode Group 2
Rate of energy expenditure will vary, depending on the person’s performance ability. With higher skill levels, a person can work harder and longer. Examples include group-led aerobics(this is where Essentrics fits in), outdoor cycling, step aerobics, hiking, swimming, water aerobics, and inline skating.
Exercise mode Group 3
Highly variable in terms of energy expenditure, examples include basketball, raquet sports, and volleyball.
Now that you have thought about what is your preferred aerobic exercise mode, now lets look at effort.
Aerobic mode and exercise intensity (light, moderate or vigorous)
You can use the following to assess your exercise intensity:
Talk test (light=talking easy, moderate=short sentences, vigorous=1-2 words only)
Rate of perceived exertion (light=2/10, moderate=3-6/10, vigorous=7-8/10).
Percentage of Heart Rate Maximum (light=57-63%, moderate=64-76%, vigorous=77-95%)
Sweat and heat. When it comes to aerobic activity, heat is one of the by products of aerobic metabolism.
Goals in minutes: 150 moderate or 75 vigorous?
The World Health Organization has made these guidelines for weekly accumulated exercise.
Depending on your mode, you may be tapping into light, moderate or vigorous intensity levels, or a mixture of all three.
For activities in group 1 aerobic exercise mode, using the talk test or rate of perceived exertion is possible and easier than it would be for a variable level of effort. You can modify your workload (speed, resistance, incline on a treadmill) to attain your goal of moderate or vigorous intensity. Some warm up is necessary.
For the group 2 or 3 aerobic exercise modes, it will probably be easier to use a heart rate monitor and app to determine if you are hitting your weekly goals.
As always, you need to check with a health professional first if you have any concerns about exercising as it relates to any current health problems. You can also use something like PARQ Activity readiness questionaire or CSEP Get Active Questionaire to help you figure out if you are safe to exercise.
If you have figured out these three things when it comes to your cardiovascular fitness, then now it’s time to put the plan into action.
Here is an example of how I attain my weekly goal of 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise:
Treadmill jogging at moderate intensity 12 minutes 4X/week 48
Essentrics 2 x/week 20/60 minutes moderate intensity 40
HIIT style exercise class 20/60 moderate intensity 20
Circuit training leg machines plus bodyweight exercise 12 minutes 4X/week 48 (warm up is treadmill jogging)
I will add that I had to recently modify my workouts to attain the 150 per week. I used a HR monitor and app to figure out exactly the impact of my weekly training and noted that the weighted/machine workouts needed higher intensity activities interspersed throughout (like mountain climber, jog on spot, step ups fast pace, and other plyometric type exercises) in order to keep my heart rate up. The pace of the machine exercises had to be sped up a bit as well(more volume in less time).
Does it have to be so complicated?
Of course not! I just like to work out the details and make calculations. You only need to keep it real if you want to have an effect on your current fitness level. Trust me. It is challenging but never impossible. Check out my blog on Keeping it real: Physical fitness and VO2max if you need a little peer support and pep talk.
If you are ready to take another step toward your fitness, check out my page Essentrics® with Andrea.
Until next time, onward and upward!