Diet: Exercise – Aerobics

I’m going to lay it out on the line – if you’re a large person who is not just looking to lose weight, but also looking to improve your health and change your life, then most of your exercise is going to have to consist of aerobic exercise. 

Do you see what I did there?  With the underlining?  Because I said I’m going to lay it on the –

Fine, fine.

Aerobics are going to be your main exercise for awhile because it is going to improve one thing you need for all exercises: Endurance.  I have seen people run out of breath while getting up, going to the kitchen, returning and sitting down.  It took less than three minutes, but I could see the red complexion and tiny beads of sweat that people get after a twenty minute hike.  I have mentioned the concept before, but exercising and getting fit is not about weight loss.  I don’t want to pigeon-hole anyone, but if you’re trying to lose thirty or more pounds, odds are you aren’t healthy.  If I have to explain to you why it is better for your overall health and well-being to be able to jog at least twenty goddamn minutes as opposed to passing out from exertion trying to get out of bed, then you know what?  I get to be hella-sarcastic while doing so.

Because who likes breathing fresh air and seeing sunshine, or living long enough to see your grandchild graduate from high school, am I right?

Until you are strong enough to be able lift your own bodyweight and or walk up a flight of stairs without vomiting, you’re not ready to start losing weight.  But enough nagging.  Suffice it to say, aerobic exercise is about training your heart, muscles, lungs and mind (i.e.- your body) to be able to handle the stress of weight loss.  Now let’s get to the part where I list off some shit, spout some scientific facts that I’m sure I’m using incorrectly, and put funny captions to pictures that may or may not be related to what I’m talking about.  Besides, that nagging tone makes me feel like an asshole.

Oh, hardee har har.

I found one place on the internet saying the literal definition of aerobic means “living in air”, but that sounds like a load of new age bullshit to me.  Another definition I found said it meant “of oxygen”, which sounds a little more likely.  Whatever the literal meaning is, aerobic refers to the use of oxygen in cellular respiration, which is a fancy way of saying metabolism.  I could try to explain the chemistry behind aerobic metabolism but I’d have to understand it first, and since I need to be naked to count to twenty-one, I don’t think my understanding is going to deepen anytime soon.  Just know that aerobic is synonymous with oxygen, and anything that uses oxygen to grow is called an aerobic organism.

Now in regards to fitness, “aerobics” is just a shortened version of “aerobic exercise”, the definition of which is “exercise that derives most of its energy from aerobic metabolism”.  It’s not hard to understand the shortening of the phrase but it sure does make for a bland article.  I have used the word in one form or another more than ten times since the beginning of this article, and I haven’t even reached one page yet.  I’m going to choose another word for it for the time being, just to add some color.  How about . . . . . . . . looperdafilic?  Looperdafilic exercises are ones that can be maintained at a constant pace for a prolonged period of time.  Neither working too fast nor too slow, these exercises will keep you working at about 60% – 70% of your Maximum Heart Rate.

"The Zone."

It’s important to note that TIME and HEART RATE are crucial to successful looperdalific exercise.  If your heart rate gets to high, you stop fueling looperdalfic metabolism, and starts fueling anaerobic metabolism and you’re not ready for that kind of intense workout yet.  You’ll hit a wall long before you do any kind of long-lasting benefit, and to burn through your energy stores too quickly could have a reverse effect (something to do with burning so much sugar that your body floods your system with more insulin than it needs).  Keeping your heart rate “in the zone” is going to be vital for you to start making progress.

As for time, if you want to get better at whatever exercise you choose you’re going to have to aim to do it for at least twenty minutes.  While all movement of your body burns calories, many of those calories are just going to be the ones on top (the calories you have consumed that very day).  To start working off of your stored fat, your body needs to be burning calories for a minimum of twenty minutes and it only starts burning fat after those twenty minutes.  This means you’re shooting for a workout time of at least half an hour if you want to see results.

The key to aerobic exercise.

You could up the intensity of your workout to save time, but then your heart rate goes up and you start to get closer to burning out.  Endurance is not about going as hard as you can, it’s about going for as long as you can.  You’re just going to have to commit half an hour of your life a few times a week, and maybe even a little more, if you want your body to adapt and get stronger.  That may seem like a lot of time, but it’s better than watching that rerun of The Dick Van Dyke show for the eightieth time.

Honestly, how many times can you watch him fall over that thing?

It’s not just about the calorie burn, it’s about building up the muscles, training your heart and getting your head used to spending that amount of time constantly moving.  Even if you start just by briskly walking for half an hour (which is a great way to start), just getting used to being active for that length of time is going to help you.

While many exercises are actually consider aerobic exercise, I’m just going to list what I think of the main four because I’m getting close to three pages and I just can’t see people sitting and reading my blather through more than that.

Jogging

One day, Running and Walking got together, fell in love, and had a baby.  That baby was named Jogging, and he became the ultimate aerobic exercise that can be done anywhere and at anytime.  You don’t need much to do it (theoretically you don’t even need shoes), and can be done in any kind of weather and on any kind of terrain.  Providing a much higher heart rate than walking, and yet slower than running and providing the jogger with more time to enjoy the scenery, jogging is almost the perfect exercise.  Although the primary focus is on the legs, when done correctly it gets every part of your body moving.  The pace is easy to adjust, and it trains you in moving your body at the drop of a hat in case dinosaurs ever reemerge as the dominant species on the planet.

The downside is that jogging is also the hardest on your body.  You are constantly throwing your weight around and stopping your weight with your legs, and the impact can just kill every single one of your joint below the waist.  It is also torturous for people with back problems and, if attempted, will leave them lying in bed and writhing in pain.

If jogging is your exercise of choice, start by mapping out a route around your neighborhood.  The route should take no more than forty minutes for you to walk.  When setting out to exercise, power walk (walk fast) the route.  At the last stretch (when you can see your house, or about 50 yards), up your pace to a slight jog until you reach the end.  Do this everyday, and as the route gets easier lengthen the route and up the entire pace a notch.  Keep doing this until you are always jogging.

Bicycle

As opposed to jogging, cycling is a very low impact exercise.  It’s also great as it can double for a mode of transportation, preparing you for the day when that automobile of yours breaks down (which it will eventually do).  It’s main and only focus is the legs, and boy howdy will it make a difference on those.  Thanks to riding my bike everyday during my school years, I have calves the size of whole chickens.

The downside is that you have to by extra equipment.  While a bicycle is cheap, riding on the streets isn’t always a work out (especially if you have to wait for traffic lights) and can often times be hazardous.  And the alternative of buying a stationary cycle will set you back at least a couple of hundred dollars.  Cycling is a great way to lose weight, it just starts in your wallet.

To start cycling, you do pretty much the same thing as jogging only the distances are greater.  If you have a stationary bike, start by going for a half hour at an easy pace and slowly going for longer and harder as you get better.

Stairs

Climbing stairs is the most intense out of all of these four.  Its one thing to push your body forward, but it’s another to push it up at the same time.  What momentum you have while jogging is completely dissipated when going up stairs, which means every step feels like the first.  But it also gets your heart rate up tout suite, which means you will be able to spend more time exercising in “the zone”.  It’s also relatively low on impact, since you don’t have to stop your own weight on your foot.

The bad news about stairs is that when you get to the top, you have to go back down, which also adds the high impact back into the exercise.  If you live in a city near tall buildings, you can take the elevator down, but be prepared for some extremely odd looks.

The best way to train at stairs is to record how many times you can go up the stairs in a certain time period.  Then every workout after that, strive to fit more and more into the time frame.  If you fall short during a routine, screw the set time length and keep going until you finish.

Swimming

This is an exercise that uses the entire body, has absolutely zero impact, and it is just downright fun.  It also puts more attention on your breathing, as having air in your lungs helps keep you from drowning.  Needing even less equipment than jogging (theoretically, you don’t even needs clothes).

The downsides are that, unless you live near the ocean (the temperature of which is dictated by the weather) or a pool, you’ll need to go an extra step to get to a large body of water.  Using a kiddie pool or a bath tub simply doesn’t work.  It is also the most revealing and can cause major anxiety problems if you have body image issues (don’t worry, most people do).  It’s one thing to be large and jogging down the street in sweat pants, it’s another to take your shirt of in public and dive into water.

I’ve never swam strictly for exercise, so I don’t know how to start.  I figure it’s like everything else (set a distance, speed and time) but just done in water.

Not quite what I meant.

Are there more?  Of course!  But my job is only to open the doorway a little and insult you a little while doing so.  Have I insulted you yet?  No?  That’s a silly haircut!  HAHA, job accomplished!

. . .

I’m sorry, that was mean.  Your hair looks fine.  Happy looperdafilic exercise, everyone!

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