Hindu squats are perfect for whipping muscles into shape, but they don't provide aerobic fitness. Running, on the other hand, provides serious aerobic training. For an exercise to qualify as an aerobic activity, it must last at least 10 minutes per session and work a major muscle group. While Hindu squats have the major muscle group covered, few mere mortals can sustain them for 10 minutes.
Hindu squats are like regular squats kicked up a notch -- they work your legs, rear, core and arms. To perform Hindu squats, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms extended forward, parallel to the floor with your palms down. Turn your palms upward, close your fists as though you're grabbing the air, and bring your elbows back as though you are pulling the air toward your chest. Pull your fists to your sides, then dip your body into a squat while lowering your arms. Once your hands graze the floor, extend them upwards as you rise back to starting position. Maintain a continuous motion for 12 squats, rest and repeat for up to three total sets.
Squats for Strength
Hindu squats may not improve aerobic fitness, but they are a challenging part of your strength-training routine. Strength training is critical for muscle and bone health, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend performing it at least twice weekly. Choose body-weight moves such as squats, lunges and crunches, or use equipment such as weights, tubes and exercise balls. Work all muscle groups for good balance: arms, legs, hips, back, chest and stomach.
Running and Aerobic Fitness
Running gets your heart pumping and your lungs working hard for a killer aerobic workout. You breathe more deeply and quickly for an extended period, introducing more oxygen into your bloodstream. At the same time, your heart rate rises to increase blood flow. As your blood delivers the needed oxygen to your muscles, it also carries away waste products such as lactic acid. As with all aerobic exercises, your heart and lungs become stronger with regular running. For optimal aerobic fitness, perform vigorous cardio such as running or swimming laps for a total of 75 to 150 minutes weekly, or perform moderate cardio such as walking quickly or cycling on flat turf 150 to 350 minutes weekly.
Running and Hindu squats are both hard on the knees, so they may be dicey choices if you've had past knee issues. Both exercises are also tough -- if you're not already in peak shape, incorporate them gradually into your routine. Proper footwear is essential, particularly with running. And if you run outdoors, dress for the weather and wear bright clothing so motorists can easily spot you. See your physician before starting a new exercise routine.
Nina K. is a Los Angeles-based journalist who has been published by USAToday.com, Fitday.com, Healthy Living Magazine, Organic Authority and numerous other print and web publications. She has a philosophy degree from the University of Colorado and a journalism certificate from UCLA.