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Aerobics and Toning Fitness & Weight Loss Programs

aerobics class

There are several aerobic and muscle toning exercise types that are designed to improve your cardiovascular endurance and increase muscular tone at the same time.

In fact, many aerobics classes incorporate cardiovascular, dance and plyometric movements with some form of strength training or spot training.

Typical strength training equipment used in conjunction with an aerobics class include elastic bands, exercise balls, medicine balls and free weights (i.e. dumbbells). Spot training involves performing a specific set of exercises that target a specific set of muscles.

For example, performing abdominal exercises with the use of an exercise ball would specifically target and tone the abdominal muscles.

It is important to remember that the primary intent of an aerobics class is to elevate your heart rate to at least your target heart rate, and to maintain that level for a minimum of 20 consecutive minutes. By doing so, you will achieve an "aerobic effect" and improve not only your entire cardiovascular system, but your overall endurance as well. In addition, many forms of aerobics are designed to condition and tone your muscles.

Styles and Movements of Aerobics/Toning

aerobic toning

Most aerobics classes require 45 to 60 minutes to complete and will typically burn between 300 and 600 calories per session. When performed 3 times per week, you will burn a total of 900 to 1,800 calories.

In order to lose 1 pound of body fat, you must create a caloric deficit of 3,500 calories.

For example, if you burn 1,200 calories per week through exercise and decrease your caloric intake below your Basal Metabolic Rate by 2,300 calories per week through nutritional dieting, you will lose 1 pound of excess body fat per week.

While there are several types of aerobic and toning classes to choose from, every type will focus on improving your overall cardiovascular endurance, improving muscular tone and strength, and improving flexibility, balance and coordination. However, it should be noted that each aerobic type will vary in its level of conditioning and overall intent.

We have included several articles under this section of our website that are designed to discuss the intent of many types of aerobic exercises that can be performed. This includes the more traditional forms of aerobic exercise like walking, running, biking and swimming as well as aerobic exercise routines designed to be performed with a step, free weights, elastic bands, exercise balls and medicine balls. We have also included aerobic exercise routines that focus on floor exercises, plyometrics, flexibility and balance, core conditioning, interval training and strength.

Finally, each type of aerobic exercise will promote a general theme in which the exercises are to be performed. For example, several of the aerobic exercise routines are designed to be performed at a high level of energy, may be dance-oriented, or may be geared towards physical and mental relaxation.

Overall Effectiveness and Equipment

female training triceps

Resistance training is one of the most effective muscle-toning and sculpting exercise types available. Resistance raining can be performed through several different exercise types including free weights, weight training machines, elastic bands, exercise balls, medicine balls and body weight exercises (e.g. pull-ups, push-ups, sit-ups, etc.).

For most individuals looking to lose excess body weight while improving their muscular tone at the same time, it is recommended that you perform 2 to 3 aerobic workouts and 1 to 2 resistance training workouts per week.

If time does not permit this level of commitment, you should adjust your workout schedule to allow for at least 1 to 2 aerobic workouts and 1 strength training workout per week.

Aerobic exercise types such as step, floor, plyometrics and dance use elastic bands throughout the workout to promote muscular tone and strength. This approach produces a highly effective workout since both the cardiovascular system and the primary muscles are exercised within the same workout.

Participating in an aerobic exercise type that includes an exercise ball is an outstanding approach to working your entire core area (i.e. abdominals, obliques, lower back and hips). Boot camp-style aerobic workouts promote both cardiovascular development and muscular strength and toning. Yoga and flexibility aerobic classes promote moderate improvements in cardiovascular endurance, increases in strength, improvements in balance, flexibility and coordination, and mental centering and calmness. Strength training exercise types promote increases in lean muscle mass, improve overall muscular strength and tone, and increase your basal metabolic rate (because a larger caloric expenditure is required to support lean muscle tissue).

In order to achieve overall good health and fitness, both aerobic and strength conditioning are necessary. Aerobic conditioning will strengthen the heart, increase oxygen flow throughout the body, and flush toxins from the body. Strength training will improve overall structural, ligament, tendon and muscle strength. Strength training assists in maintaining bone density as well.

Benefits of Aerobic Exercise

While aerobic and toning exercises are excellent ways of achieving your personal fitness goals, they offer a sense of relaxation and overall well-being as well. Aerobic and cardiovascular workouts result in an increased amount of serotonin being released within the brain. Serotonin, quite simply, is the chemical that makes you happy. It should be noted that serotonin is produced within the intestines and the brain. The serotonin produced from these two areas are separate and distinct. The serotonin produced within the intestines cannot travel to the brain because of the blood-brain barrier. The intent of this barrier is to protect the brain from toxins. Neurons within the brain produce serotonin.

Serotonin is responsible for the sense of well-being that follows an aerobic workout. Serotonin produced within the brain is responsible for regulating mood, appetite and sleep. In fact, deficiencies in serotonin can promote depression, violent behavior, anxiety and obesity.

Improved balance, flexibility and coordination are also achieved through aerobic exercise and strength training. Step aerobics and exercise types that utilize an exercise ball not only improve balance and coordination, but work the muscles from various angles and in unique combinations as well. By doing so, the muscles, ligaments and tendons develop more rapidly, the risk of injury and strain is reduced, and overall improvements in structural strength are realized.

fit and tone female

For additional information on the various exercise types, routines and programs that are available today, please visit the Exercise Program Review section of our website.

This area of our website is designed to provide you with a comprehensive review of the most current and effective fitness and weight loss exercise types available today.

Creating and participating in an exercise routine that incorporates both aerobic and strength training activities is a surefire way to achieve your personal fitness goals in a reasonable timeframe.

However, as with any exercise routine it is important to ensure that you couple your workouts with a nutritional dietary regime that provides your body with all of the necessary nutrients required to support good health. Focus on consuming natural whole foods that are minimally processed, well-balanced, low in fat and contain no additives.