February 28, 2011. Aerobic exercise in your own time and space. Find thirty minutes and twenty square feet. Find your old leg warmers. Or not. No disco. Unless you really think it’ll help.
You really need some vigorous exercise a few times each week. Every day if you can get it together. So I put together a little routine for you. A series of exercises. A “circuit”, as they might say at the gym. It’s designed to elevate your heart rate and make you breathe hard for twenty or thirty minutes.
No single exercise is particularly strenuous. But when you do them all, and do them quickly and with very short breaks between them, you’ll sweat. Your muscles – all of them – will feel tired when you’re done. You’ll breathe hard. But you shouldn’t ever be gasping for air, so do what feels good. Not what feels like it’s going to send you to the hospital.
The only equipment I use, and for only a few of the strength exercises, is a resistance tube. Weighs about a pound. Won’t feel it if you drop it on your foot. You can use small hand weights if you prefer.
I do this, or something like it, a few days each week. The other days, I do a few miles on the treadmill or in the park. If you’re not a runner, do this or something like this every day.
Even if you walk regularly. Unless you “race-walk” at a pace faster than 4 mph, you’re probably not getting aerobic exercise. And you should.
Ways a New Way
Click the links to see the remarkably helpful videos. Always start with a little stretching and warm up. While you’re still standing, and just for a minute: Upper Back Stretch. Then down on the floor, two minutes each: Knees-to-chest and Spinal Twist
Now pump it up. I’m suggesting the number of repetitions you should work toward; you may start out lower. But don’t start slower. This routine gets aerobic because you do the repetitions quickly and continuously. Take a 30-second break between exercises, but no more unless you really need it.
20 Shoulder Bridges
50 Ab Crunches
20 Spinal Balance reps
10 Biceps Curls
10 Triceps Extensions
10 Hip Flexor Extensions
10 Standing Chest Presses
10 Forward Lunges
10 Alternating Shoulder Presses
10 Lateral Raises
30 Ankle Lifts
Great. Now, sip some water. And do the last nine exercises all over again. From the Biceps Curl through the Ankle Lifts.
Now stretch and cool down. One minute each to stretch your: Calves; Quadriceps; Hamstrings; and, Upper Back. Finish with one minute of
Neck Circles. More water. A lot more.
Every Thing Is Everything
“During aerobic activity … you’ll breathe faster and more deeply. This maximizes the amount of oxygen in your blood. Your heart will beat faster, which increases blood flow to your muscles and back to your lungs. Your small blood vessels (capillaries) will widen to deliver more oxygen to your muscles and carry away waste products, such as carbon dioxide and lactic acid. Your body will even release endorphins, natural painkillers that promote an increased sense of well-being… Aerobic exercise keeps your muscles strong, which can help you maintain mobility as you get older. Aerobic exercise also keeps your mind sharp. At least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise three days a week seems to reduce cognitive decline in older adults.” (Mayo Clinic, February 2009)
“People with high levels of physical fitness, called cardiorespiratory fitness, have a lower risk of dying from all causes of death, including coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease, than people with low levels of cardiorespiratory fitness.” (Journal of the American Medical Association, May 2009)
It’s Always Something
Even if you exercise for an hour a day, you’re still awake for another 15 hours. If you spend too many of them sitting, you’ll have significantly higher risk of “cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome risk factors, and obesity … because any type of brief, yet frequent, muscular contraction throughout the day may be necessary to short-circuit unhealthy molecular signals causing metabolic diseases.” American Diabetes Association, “Role of Low Energy Expenditure and Sitting in Obesity”. So Don’t Just Sit There!
Let’s Do The Math
250 – 300 calories. Burned.