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The Aerobic Option

By: Julie Burns - Updated: 13 May 2012 | comments*Discuss
Aerobic; Exercise; Osteoporosis; Jane

'Going for the burn', the motivational exercise motto 1980s fitness queen Jane Fonda once preached, is about as out of date as well, lycra unitards. But to work out aerobically in some form should still play some part in our exercise agenda. Working the heart and lungs is vital in establishing a healthy body centre and upping our general fitness levels; helping build strong bones, while keeping conditions such as osteoporosis at bay and releasing feel-good hormones.

Though most exercise disciplines have to some extent an aerobic element, the most comprehensive and customised route to take is probably gym-based. Here, qualified instructors can devise a programme best for your body type, present health, lifestyle and aesthetic needs. Aerobic based classes may be your preferred option which are fun and fast-paced from start to finish and usually involve 'mirroring' the teacher through a top to toe workout. This may span traditional 'keep fit' jump steps and bends to latest street exercise trends.

A typical gym regime may incorporate resistance exercise, free weights, equipment from treadmill and rowing machines to sophisticated latest variations. One 'vibration' training machine seen as the ultimate workout way forward is the muscle-strengthening Power Plate as used in major gyms. Favoured by stars like Kylie and Madonna to the Manchester United football team, it was originally used to tone up Russian cosmonauts in minutes rather than the length of an average workout. In this way, each muscle group is stretched, toned and strengthened - just by taking up position sitting or standing on the plate. Whatever way you choose to workout, avoid potential muscle strain by warming up first with basic stretches. Make sure you're wearing the right footwear to prevent any injury. Leg conditions to watch out for include painful shin splints - due to repeated take-offs from a hard surface. Any gym-incurred symptoms are best alleviated by resting up until clear. Should conditions worsen, sports physios are best to advise on specific after-care such as the use of healing ultra-sound treatment.

Homework Aerobics

To help integrate aerobics into your everyday life, try these safe and curve-controlling simple exercises at home:
Disco Jog
Play your favourite music and jog on the spot introducing arm stretches up and down, round the house. Include up and down the stairs - great for bottom wobble and lower leg definition.
Side Jumps
On an in breath, jump with legs about 2 feet width apart, feet quite parallel, arms in high V extension. On out breath, jump feet back together, hands to thigh. Repeat and build momentum to 5, 10 or 15 times.
Jump Twists
Like a jumping version of the waist-whittling 'twist' dance. Jump and (gently) twist the torso to the left, the feet to face the right; repeat R, L, etc, arms to the side.
Side Punches
From a wide leg stance, hands clenched in fists, bend the right leg and turn the body to face the right, punching across with left hand. Turn and reverse, bending left leg, punching across with right. Turn and repeat to R with a double punch with L arm. Repeat sequence from L, counting pattern - 1, 2, 3& 4 each.

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