You can obtain a sleek physique by combining regular exercise with healthy eating habits. An aerobic workout is a mid-intensity cardiovascular workout, which makes your lungs and heart work harder by engaging in continuous movement and exertion. To stretch and tone your body, choose a one-hour routine that includes both cardio and strength training. In as little as four days a week, you will gain results and be on your way to better health.
Aerobic exercise involves extended exertion of multiple muscle groups. This means engaging in a workout at mid-level intensity, allowing you to continue for an hour or longer. According to the American Council on Exercise, this allows for the most effective cardiovascular workout at 60 to 80% of your maximum heart rate. The benefits of aerobic exercise include greater endurance, cardiovascular health, toning of muscle and increased stamina in other physical activities.
If you are new to yoga, then try an hour long Vinyasa or Hatha Yoga class, which both employ breathing exercises and flowing poses. If this is your main form of exercise, work your way up to the more intense Bikram or ashtanga yoga. Bikram yoga is practiced in a room set at 105 degrees Fahrenheit. The heat allows for deeper stretching. Ashtanga involves faster paced yoga sequences that follow your breath. These styles of yoga qualify as an aerobic workout as your body weight is used as resistance when balancing in poses.
The elliptical machine is an effective one-hour workout as it mimics running but without the same level of impact and strain on your knees. The elliptical has foot pads that raise and lower with your movement and arm bars that engage your arm muscles throughout. To get the maximum aerobic benefit, set the machine at a comfortable but challenging resistance. Gym machines often have heart rate monitors so you can track your progress.
Running is a near perfect exercise for many people as it can be done almost anywhere and requires minimal preparation beyond some sweat-resistance clothing and good sneakers. To get an aerobic benefit from running, combine jogging and short sprints without a break. To add a strength-training aspect, add one or two pound hand weights.
Grace Bordelon is a public relations professional, teacher and writer. She owns her own boutique public relations firm that specializes in the advertising, gaming and software industries. She also teaches at a major design school for fine artists, commercial artists and graphic designers. Bordelon holds a B.A. in international economics and an M.A. in English from Bard College.