Anaerobic activities, including any type of weight-lifting, sit-ups, pushups or activities that raise the heart rate above your maximum aerobic heart rate are not acceptable substitutes for aerobic exercise. They shouldn’t be started until after you have developed your aerobic system. For the beginner, my recommendation is to wait at least six months, and for those modifying their program, wait at least three to four months before performing any anaerobic work.
Tennis, racquetball and similar sports often end up being anaerobic for the beginner, because of the type of muscle fibers used and the high heart rates produced. They’re fun to do, but should be considered “games” and not exercise unless they’re performed regularly; e.g., if you walk four times per week, play tennis once a week, or 18 holes of golf once a week. In that case, a proper warm-up and cooldown is important, as well as regulating aerobic and anaerobic levels
Once you have progressed through a certain number of weeks without any problems, you may want to further develop your health and fitness. The following section is for people who wish to take their fitness to another level.
Progressive Fitness Programs
To further increase your level of aerobic fitness, you may wish to spend more time at or just below your maximum aerobic heart rate. Be sure to pay close attention to your heart-rate monitor to make sure you are not going over the maximum. If you can’t reach your maximum aerobic heart rate by walking, you can jog or run, or perform other activities. Other types of aerobic activity, such as biking, swimming or dancing, can also be used to improve your aerobic fitness. Be conservative, and begin this phase slowly.
Kelly didn’t like jogging, but wanted to do a variety of exercises. After walking regularly for more than a year, she joined an aerobics class. She continued to wear her heart monitor, walking three days a week and going to aerobics three days. After a few months, when the weather turned cold, she bought a stationary bike and rode it instead of walking, only venturing outdoors to walk if the temperature was tolerable. In time, Kelly had no need for her heart monitor; she only was able to get her heart rate to about 130 despite her maximum aerobic level being 145 beats per minute. She still performed her MAF Test, but at a lower heart rate. Kelly was very happy maintaining her activity at this level.
For many people, just exercising to be fit and healthy isn’t enough. At some point in time this type of casual exercise program crosses over to a training program. Some people train to reach a certain goal, such as walking or running a certain distance or climbing a mountain. Others want to be competitive. While this information goes beyond the scope of this book, here are some basic training guidelines for those who wish to go beyond casual exercise:
Basic Training .. next post about basic Training