Kickboxing makes for a high-impact aerobics workout.
When developing an aerobics workout plan, you need to strike a balance between fitness, time restrictions and finding ways of keeping the exercises challenging and fresh. However, whether or not you are at a beginner, intermediate or advanced fitness level, all aerobic workouts should follow a similar structure. Choosing activities to mix in with your aerobics workout - such as a series of squat repetitions - can increase the challenge of the workout as well as keep things interesting.
Defining an Aerobics Workout
An aerobics workout is when your workout raises your overall heart rate level to between 65 and 85 percent of your maximum heart rate over a period of time. If you cannot comfortably talk while exercising, you have shifted to an anaerobic workout, where your body only burns carbohydrates -- rather than oxygen -- to fuel your body's energy needs. The American Heart Association suggests aerobic workouts 15 to 30 minutes per day at your target heart rate. Your target heart rate is 50 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate, which is calculated by subtracting your age from 220. To find your heart rate, count your pulses for 10 seconds and then multiply by six.
All aerobic workouts need to start with a warm-up period of five to 10 minutes. During this time, you will steadily raise your heart rate to reach the target level - never try to begin a routine at your target heart rate. Dynamic stretches - such as jumping jacks and running in place - stretch out muscles, encourage blood flow and raise your heart rate in a gentle but persistent manner. After your warm-up, switch into your aerobics routine, which will vary depending on your fitness level and requirements. When planning your aerobics workout, include five to 10 minutes of cool down time, where you lower the intensity and speed of your exercises to slowly bring your breathing and heart rate back to normal. At the close, stretch out your muscles with static stretches - holding for 20 seconds or so - before finishing the routine.
Beginner Level Aerobics -- Start Off Easy
If you are new to aerobics exercise, have only a basic level of fitness or a limited range of motion, aim for a target heart rate of around 65 percent. While the workout should still challenge you, a few minutes into the routine should not leave you wanting to take a break. Stick with low-impact exercises such as stationary cycling, power walks, elliptical training or swimming to reduce the risk of injury and allow your body to acclimatize to aerobic exercise. To help improve your fitness level, practice strength training as well as aerobic exercise.
Intermediate and Advanced Aerobics
If your fitness level has risen to a point where you can do aerobic exercise comfortably for 30 minutes straight, increase the intensity of your workouts to further build your stamina and endurance. Aim for a target heart rate that is between 70 and 80 percent. You can gradually switch to high-intensity exercises in your workouts. These include kickboxing, stair running, trail jogging and jumping rope - all these high-intensity activities can vary in intensity depending on your ability. To boost your cardio level, include 60- to 90-second bursts of high-intensity intervals throughout your routine, such as doing stair sprints for 60 seconds three times throughout your entire routine. Check your heart rate throughout to ensure you are within your target heart rate range.