Aerobic Exercises – What Are These And How Are They Helpful? May 27, 2016

Is workout the first thing on your mind every morning? Are you interested in cardiovascular conditioning? If yes, then you must try out some of the best and the safest low impact aerobic exercises. These exercises are simple to master and have profound benefits on your overall health!

On that note, this post talks about the ten best low impact aerobic exercises. Would you like to know what they are? Read on!

1. Walking


Image: iStock

Walking is an easy and natural form of exercise, which anyone can do. From young children to pregnant women, everyone can easily carry out this form of low impact aerobic exercise. It not only provides more oxygen to the body cells, but also reduces stress, thereby making a positive impact on your overall health. To make the exercise more effective, you can try walking up the hills, use dumbbells or strap weights to the wrist or ankles to increase the heart rate.

2. Stairmaster Or Walking On The Staircases

Stairmaster Or Walking On The Staircases

Image: Shutterstock

Another easy form of low impact aerobic exercise is walking up and down the stairs. Your workout center or gym may not be having staircases, but it surely must be having a Stairmaster, which makes exercising much more exciting than walking on the treadmill. You can easily perform this exercise without going to the gym, by walking up the staircases for a few minutes every day. Many athletes use it as a warm-up exercise to prepare bodies for high impact workouts.

3. Cycling


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You think cycling is for the kids? Well, not anymore! Many sports persons and gym trainers swear by the strengthening effect of cycling. It is a fun way to become fit without damaging your joints. Cycling every day for 30 minutes makes your leg muscles strong and adds more vitality and flexibility to your personality. If you want to enhance the effect, you can ride up the hill using your bike. However, it is advisable to start slowly first and then increase your distance and duration.

4. Donkey Kicks

Donkey Kicks

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Although this form of low impact aerobic exercise is advised for pregnant women, everyone can do this, and it is extremely beneficial for those having chronic back pain. These kicks strengthen the abdominal muscles and tone the back.

To Perform This Exercise
  1. Stand straight and then bend from the waist to your knees, keeping the arms straight.
  1. Make sure your hands are exactly parallel to the ground.
  1. Lift the left knee off the floor and straighten the left leg behind you.
  1. Make sure the leg and the back are in a straight line.
  1. Repeat the same step with your right leg.

5. Arm Stretches

Arm Stretches

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According to Denise Austin, a fitness expert, this move can alleviate the tension in the chest muscles when they become tight. This type of simple marching exercises does not require any workout equipment or strenuous stretching. All you need to do is march as the soldiers do, albeit with a high and consistent speed.

To Perform This Exercise
  1. Start by marching at one place and slowly increase the pace so that your heart rate increases.
  1. While marching, ensure that you lift your knees high enough to give your thighs, lower limbs, and buttocks enough stretch.
  1. As you are moving your knees up and down, extend one of the arms up and move it in a rotation back and front.
  1. Do the same with the arm on the other side.

6. Water Aerobics

Water Aerobics

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You can enhance the impact of water sports and swimming by introducing water walking or pike skull in the pool. Treadmills in the pool are an interesting idea that makes walking much more fun. When you walk with speed in the pool, the water resists your action and puts a strain on your lower limbs. For those suffering from lack of proper blood circulation in the legs, this low impact exercise can do wonders.

7. Ballroom Dancing

Ballroom Dancing

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Dancing is super sexy and makes you feel elegant every time you move your feet to a foot tapping number. Moreover, it is very easy on the body and surely a great workout. However, you need a partner to perform this low impact exercise. Perform whirls, spins, twirls and take those dips with a partner who is equally interested in dancing and exercising as you are, and you will surely start loving your exercise schedule.

8. The Plie Squat

The Plie Squat

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This low-impact aerobic exercise makes every woman and man feel elegant while performing it. Although the movements are almost similar to regular squats, you have to lower your body, bend the knees and move down as if you are going to sit.

To Perform This Exercise
  1. Place your hands on the hips and keep the feet hip-width apart.
  1. Point the feet outwards.
  1. Squat down with your knees bending in the direction of the toes.
  1. In case you feel more stress on your knees, you can reduce or increase the distance between the feet until you feel comfortable.

9. TRX – The Total Body Resistance Exercise

TRX – The Total Body Resistance Exercise

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TRX is a type of strap suspension system, which is three times faster than the regular straps, but is much easier on the joints. However, it challenges your whole body. Initially, you may need a bit of help from your trainer to master these exercises. But once you master most of the awesome TRX exercises, you will enjoy doing them.

10. Hip Abduction

Hip Abduction

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Hip abduction exercise is extremely helpful in easing the tensed hip muscles, especially during pregnancy.

To Perform This Exercise
  1. Squat down with your upper body upright.
  1. Do not hinge forward.
  1. Lift and squeeze your belly while you transfer your weight entirely on one leg with the other leg pointing out.
  1. Keep the foot flexed.
  1. For strength training, you can use lighter weights starting with five pounds and slowly increasing as your capacity increases.
  1. Hold the weight up at the shoulders so that they appear placed at the top of the biceps curl.
  1. Slowly come back to the normal position and repeat.

Training Methods of Aerobics Exercise

The main methods of aerobics exercise are:

  1. Long Duration Cardio
  2. Interval Training

1. Long Duration Cardio

Long Duration Cardio is the moves which you perform for an extended period at a steady pace.

  • For example, a walk for one hour at a speed of 4 mph or a 30 minute run at 6 mph.
  • This burns a lot of calories
  • It gives the daily calorie deficit which is sought after for losing weight.
  • This is great for heavier people.
  • It can be used as a starting point for workout programs as it will help in increasing endurance and will prep the body for further exercising.

The effects of Long Duration Cardio are more immediate.

  • While doing these exercises, you have the “burn,” which means you burn calories even as you are working out.
  • They don’t have any after effects.
  • There is no hike in the metabolic process after you stop performing this cardio.

2. Interval Training

Interval Training workout comprises of alternate high and low-intensity intervals.

Like any other cardio workouts, these increase the calorie burn and build endurance.

  • These give better and faster results in less time compared to Long Duration Cardio.
  • These can be the second step for the weight loss program and is better for people who have better endurance than the beginners.
  • An ideal Interval Training session will include alternate short, high-intensity intervals and longer, lower-intensity recovery periods.
  • In high-intensity intervals, maximum effort (as hard as you can) is required (this is a form of anaerobic exercise).
  • For beginners, it can be a little less intense, which can be in a little more aerobic form.
  • You’ll know that you have reached your high-intensity period when you’ll have muscle burn (the burning sensation the muscle utilized).
  • Adding few of these intervals can give better results.
  • As these are very hard and taxing they are needed to be kept short and should be accompanied by longer lower intensity intervals (which are even called recovery intervals, as you recover from the burn of the muscle).

In a complete workout, there are five to ten cycles of high and low intensity. According to your fitness, you can vary the lengths of each interval, the number of cycles, and intensity of the cycle.

Sample Interval Training

EquipmentWarm upHigh- IntensityLow IntensityRepeat CyclesCool DownTotal Time
Stationary Bike5 min, low Resistance, comfortable pace1 min, Medium to High Resistance, Fast Pace3 min, Medium Resistance, Moderate PaceStart with 2 reps of each intensity and build up to 10 reps5 min, low Resistance, Slow Pace18 mins for beginners to 50 mins for advance
Treadmill5 min, zero incline, Moderate pace (3 mph)1 min, High Incline (6-7) and moderate pace (4.5-6 mph) or low Incline (2-3) and fast pace (5-8 mph)3 min, Low Incline (2-3) and Moderate Pace (3-4 mph)Start with 2 reps of each intensity and build up to 10 reps5 min, low Resistance, Slow Pace18 mins for beginners to 50 mins for advance
Elliptical5 min, Low Level (1-3), Comfortable Pace (2 – 3.5 RPE)1 min, High Level (7-9) and Moderate Pace (4-6 RPE) or Low Level (4-6) and High Pace ( 7 – up)3 min, Low Level (2-4) and Moderate Pace (4-6 RPE)Start with 2 reps of each intensity and build up to 10 reps5 min, low Resistance, Slow Pace18 mins for beginners to 50 mins for advance

This is just the sample workout, and everyone has a different intensity bearing level. You can adjust the workout according to your needs and requirements, just remember the concept and work on it.

For the interval training, gym equipment is not required. These can be done even while walking in the park. Just follow the concept, you can run for 1 min and walk for another 3 min.

The Talk Test

  • This is the method for measuring the exercise intensity.
  • This doesn’t require any fancy equipment like heart rate monitors etc.
  • This is especially effective for the beginners, but everyone can use it.
  • The goal is to find a level where you can answer a question easily but cannot make a conversation.
  • In other words, you are working at a high-intensity level if you have to breathe between every word you say.
  • You are working on a low-intensity level if you can sing a song or make a complete conversation.

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

HIIT is the more advanced version of interval training and should be performed by conditioned athletes. This involves pushing yourself beyond the upper end of your intensity zone. Although very difficult and very advanced version of training, it is very effective and gives the best results.

Concerns Regarding Cardio

Although Cardio is effective in burning calories and losing fat, it has its own drawbacks like:

  • It can be taxing on joints and muscles. Most of the forms have high impact (like the thumping of foot on the surface while walking, jogging, etc.)
  • This can affect the joints like knees and ankles and muscles like calf muscles.
  • It can melt the muscles you have and have no significant contribution towards building lean body mass by helping you gain muscles.
  • Cardio gives very short term result. There is no after effect of performing cardio. It does not elevate the metabolic process.
  • Cardio can be boring and repetitive.

Benefits Of Aerobic Exercise Training

Strengthens The Heart

Aerobic exercise training is excellent for strengthening hearts and lungs.

During these exercises, the tissues demand more oxygen from the blood

  • The heart has to beat faster to cope up with this demand, which in longer duration makes it stronger and healthier.
  • The fast movement of the blood and heart helps to unclog the arteries.
  • This means that it reduces LDL (bad cholesterol).

Burns Calories

  • Longer duration cardio can burn lots of calories
  • It creates a calorie deficit which is required for reducing weight.

Reduces Resting Blood Pressure

  • Improves glucose tolerance and reduces insulin resistance.
  • Decreases clinical symptoms of anxiety, tension, and depression.
  • Enhances muscles’ ability to use oxygen and increase its blood supply.
  • Lowers resting heart rate.
  • Increased muscle endurance.

Aerobics can be used as a starting step. It is a good way to start weight loss for beginners and for people who have excess body fat. Aerobic exercise steps are less demanding on the body and can be easily understood and followed.

The best part about this form is that it leaves open the option of even doing aerobic exercise at home!

If you are the type of person who wants a fun way to lose weight and stay fit, then trying this out can surely be a good option! No more spending hours closed up inside a gym. Just follow the pattern and lose weight in a fun way without using any equipment. Stay fit, stay healthy!

Hope now you got an idea on what is aerobic exercise and how effective it is to include these exercises in your regular workout routine! Do share your experience in the comment section given below.

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shwetasarawgi (Glam 'n Gloss)

A Skincare enthusiast, a makeup junkie by choice and a housewife by karma. I am Shweta ,30 years old who have completed my MBA and I am married to a techie. I love makeup and styling. During my stay in USA, UK and India I've picked up lots of different International products and have learnt loads of tips and tricks.