Before you start any aerobic exercise regimen, consult your physician and take the Exercise Risk Factor Analysis to assess your pre-exercise risks. Once these tasks have been completed, it is essential to learn the elements of a cardiorespiratory workout to properly warm-up and cool-down, which greatly reduces the chance of muscle, joint, and cardiovascular injury.
Aerobic Exercise Elements
Each aerobic exercise workout should include the following elements:
Why is each element important?
- The Warm-Up: The warm-up increases blood flow to the heart and skeletal muscles and increases body temperature. This step decreases the risk of muscle and joint injury and increases the quality of the overall workout.
- Endurance Conditioning: The endurance-conditioning phase primarily develops and maintains aerobic fitness. The type of aerobic exercise performed determines the time required for this phase. Higher intensity exercise requires less time to achieve adequate conditioning, while lower intensity exercise requires more time to achieve the same results.
- The Cool-Down: During the cool-down phase, heart rate and blood pressure return to near resting levels. Cooling down also prevents blood from pooling in the extremities, particularly the lower body. Consequently, the cool-down phase reduces the risk of cardiovascular complications caused by sudden cessation of aerobic activity.
- Stretching: Stretching at the end of a workout is the best way to improve flexibility and prevent injury. Stretching should always be performed after the cool-down phase as the cool-down allows the body to return to near resting cardiovascular conditions.
EMG Exercise Homepage: Exercise for Men