Why is Aerobic Fitness Important?
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Aerobic training is the key to keeping you fit, healthy and lean. Without good cardiovascular fitness, everything else fails, so we must focus our attention towards regular, correct intensity training to ensure that you can maximise your physical performance.
There are two principal techniques in cardiovascular training – constant pace training and interval training, it is really worth understanding what they are, how they work and why we use them.
Working for extended periods at a steady pace, or at least keeping your heart rate within a small working zone, is called constant pace training. It is a training technique that builds endurance and helps the body to use oxygen more efficiently. It increases lung capacity and local muscle endurance. While you burn marginally more fat with interval training, constant pace training is crucial for building a good base level of fitness. This will improve your performance in any field of sport or exercise.
This is where you work for a short period of time at a high intensity, recover by working for a short period of time at a low intensity and then repeat the cycle again. Interval training builds aerobic strength and stamina because it enables you to work the respiratory system at a very intense level. The effect of this is to overload the heart and lungs and make them adapt to become strong enough to cope with the greater physical challenge. Interval training places high energy demands on your body and is a more effective way to burn fat than constant pace training as it raises your basal metabolic rate (BMR), which is the rate at which you burn calories whilst at rest.
Maximum Heart rate (MHR)
To get the most out of your aerobic training, you need to work within your optimum training zone. Calculate this by first determining your maximum heart rate (MHR): assume that your MHR when you are born is 220 and that every year your heart rate reduces by one, so your MHR = 220 minus your age. So, if you are 40, your MHR is 180 beats per minute (BPM).
Your optimum training zone is generally between 75 and 90 per cent of your MHR. Monitor your heart rate while exercising by working for a period of time, then briefly stopping and taking your pulse. Multiply the number by four to get your heart rate in beats per minute (BPM) and only push yourself harder if you feel it is safe.