Aerobic exercise is any activity that requires extra oxygen to be delivered to your body's tissues, increasing your heart and breathing rates. This type of exercise is great for weight loss and is also called "cardio."
Increasing Cardio for Weight Loss
If you are just starting a weight loss program, you are probably considering how you can get more cardio into your daily routine. The good news is that there are lots of ways to do this, but the bad news is that it can be easy to start a program with enthusiasm and then find yourself slowly (or quickly) giving up.
The key to incorporating daily aerobic exercise into your life and sticking with it may be to simply not make it about the exercise. Instead, make it about the experience. Think about these concepts when you are deciding which type of exercise to pursue for weight loss:
- Choose an activity that you are interested in practicing and improving. You will be more likely to stick to your exercise routine if it'ssomething that you enjoy and you can see yourself getting better at a particular skill or activity.
- Make your exercise routine mesh with your hobby. One reason people give up on exercise routines is because of the time necessary. If you make your exercise your hobby, you will be fulfilling many goals with one activity. Losing weight, lowering stress, and having fun can all be done at the same time.
- Think outside the box. Don't assume you have to be doing a particular type of exercise to get healthier. Allow yourself to think of unusual and fun ways to achieve an aerobic workout.
When you keep these ideas in mind, you can find a type of aerobic exercise that not only helps you lose weight and keep your heart healthy but also aids you in relieving stress and feeling good about yourself.
What Counts as Cardio?
An aerobic workout doesn't have to include traditional exercises. In fact, almost any activity can be aerobic as long as it achieves an increase in heart rate for at least 10 minutes.
Your heart rate should increase to 50% to 85% of your maximum heart rate during aerobic activity. Here is a calculator to help you determine what your heart rate should be to qualify for cardio. You can use a heart rate monitor to ensure you're getting to that target heart rate and staying there.
Always check with your doctor before starting any new exercise program.
As you can see, any activity can be cardio as long as you do it with enough intensity and for a long enough period of time. Next time you need to vacuum, scrub the floors, or mow the lawn, increase your intensity a bit and enjoy the aerobic exercise.
Aerobic Exercise Ideas
As a way to help you start thinking about some aerobic workouts that you may not otherwise consider when making your weight loss plan, we've compiled a list of less usual cardio exercise:
- Trail hiking
- Mountain biking
- Jumping rope
- Water aerobics
- Rollerblading, ice skating, or roller skating
- Rowing, sailing, or paddling
- Trampoline workouts
- Snowshoeing or skiing
- Playing tag
Find a class, reach out to friends who like the same thing, or just put on your headphones and get ready for some de-stressing. Whatever you choose, do something you love so it will be enjoyable rather than misery-inducing. Once you have one or two great ways of getting in your aerobic exercise, add in some weight-bearing activity if possible. For example, carry weights while walking or a loaded backpack while hiking. This will help increase your bone health and bolster your endurance and strength.