Cardiovascular / aerobic training programmes also come with an infinite number of possibilities and it can sometimes rely on your imagination and growing experience to constantly modify whatever programme you decide to pursue.
Always keep in mind that whatever programme you perform on a given day, that programme will only work a certain set of muscles in a very specific way. Unless you are a competitive athlete training for an individual sport, it is recommended you constantly vary your workouts. If you cycle, for example, your muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves and cardiovascular system will adapt in a specialised manner to that particular exercise. However, if you constantly vary your workouts, you will not only avoid boredom, you will achieve a higher level of overall fitness. Your body is marvellously adaptable, and you can train it to become a specialist or a generalist. If you are a competitive athlete, you will want to be a specialist. But if you seek fitness, the advantages of being a generalist are many. A generalist practices several aerobic sports / activities. Generalists are more versatile, less prone to repetitive use injuries and much more likely to stick to a long term exercise programme.
The results you can expect from aerobic exercise will very much vary depending on your base level of fitness. The more out of shape you are when you start, the more dramatic your improvement will be. Most studies on aerobic fitness usually focus on the body’s ability to utilise and transport oxygen, a measurement referred to as VO2 max. While this is useful measurement, it doesn’t say much about real life fitness. A more meaningful measure for most is called ‘submaximal capacity’. This refers to a person’s ability to continue for indefinite periods in activities that were once fatiguing or even impossible. You can expect dramatic improvements in your submaximal capacity.
Some tips for getting on the road to aerobic fitness:
- Make a commitment: The first step. There is no use talking about it without deciding to take action.
- Pick a specific time and place: If you live a regimented life (ie: 9 to 5 job), decide what time is best for you and stick with it.
- Change your priorities: Make aerobic fitness a top priority. What is good success without health?
- Start slowly: Don’t be too concerned with what others are doing. It takes time to achieve aerobic fitness. Give yourself a break and ease into your programme.
- Be consistent: No aerobic programme will work if you don’t stick to it. Exercise should become a regular part of your life. Inconsistency will give you minimal results. Fitness will be gained slowly but lost quickly.
- Set realistic goals: Seek balance in your aerobic work.
- Reward yourself: When you reach milestones, celebrate.
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Author – Mark Durnford, Lifetime Tutor