Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Guest Post: How Much "Cardio" or Aerobic Activity Should I Do?

Today I have a guest post from Apryl DeLancey, who blogs over at Women Like Sports. (Not Women LOVE Sports, which I have apparently been writing lately. OOPS!) Because Apryl trains for two sports - golf and surfing - I thought you might be interested to hear how she approaches an aerobics program.

First of all, let me explain that I am not a physician or a healthcare professional. You should also know that I am quite dedicated. People that know me well remark that I am an "exception" because I have been committed to fitness goals for as long as I can remember. I think the latter is a cop-out for them to feel better about themselves, quite honestly.

My aerobic/cardio routine has evolved over time and I have always been active - let's examine my personal timeline.

Up through age 10: The Wonderama segment where the host would ask everyone to get up out of their chairs and move around while he sang "exercise, exercise, come on everybody get your exercise" and whenever Romper Room had an activity segment combined with hours and hours of bicycle riding, skateboarding, roller skating, and overall not sitting still for more than 15 minutes.

Age 10 - 15: More outdoor activity with the bicycle, skateboard, and rollerskates and now mixing in plenty of swimming, bodysurfing, bodyboarding, and surfing where possible. In addition, I would walk many miles since I didn't have a car and I wanted to get to school, shop, and go to friends' houses.

About age 16 I started driving a car and therefore noticed that I wasn't getting as much activity. My clothes started fitting a bit tighter. In spite of not being finished growing overall, I was not interested in gaining flab or getting out of shape. I started making a conscious effort to hit the treadmill, walk, surf, etc. to keep in shape.

In my 20's, like many people, my responsibilities meant that I didn't have as much time to exercise. I was really a morning person so this is where I cultivated the habit of exercising right when I woke up. I would either surf, rollerblade, walk on the beach in sneakers, kayak, circuit train, waterski, or some kind of aerobic activity for at least an hour 4-5 times a week.

The habit that I cultivated in my 20's has now continued and I am well over 30. By well over, I mean WELL over. Most people see my picture and think I am between 27-32 and I attribute this, in part, to my focused exercise habits.

So how does on know how much cardio/aerobic activity to do?

Let me just say that yes, I do weight and/or resistance training in addition to cardio/aerobic activity and always have. However, that is a different subject. For this post, I am only discussing cardio/aerobic activity.

Whenever I feel sluggish, cranky, lethargic, unfocused, or out of energy my first solution is to increase or pay more attention to my cardio/aerobic activity time and/or resistance setting. It almost always works. I hate being winded, out of energy, unfocused or getting that "bloated and lethargic feeling."

When I am out in the water surfing, I can really feel it if I even slip for a few days. My endurance goes to crap and I have to spend about 10 minutes catching my breath from the paddle out. That sucks in my opinion. I see guys out there in their 70s shredding waves. There's no reason I can't also.

On the course, I get winded on one of our many hilly SoCal courses if I let my cardio/aerobic activity slip. I don't like that feeling.

So how much of this activity do I do? I do as much as I have to do to make sure I don't get that heavy, uncomfortable feeling that comes with being out of shape or not in optimal shape. As I get older, I have to make sure I keep it up so I will do 45 minutes to an hour of cardio/aerobic activity 4-5 days a week. In addition, I have other components to my routine such as weight training, resistance training, and surf-specific exercises. This keeps me from getting that lazy, lethargic feeling that I absolutely loathe.

To me, the biggest motivator is that awesome feeling that I get from being alert and in shape.

If you want to check out some of Apryl's fitness posts at her blog, here are a few recent ones. She did this one specifically at my request (thanks again, Apryl!), answered some questions about that post here, and then posted more info here, here, and some workout music suggestions here.

4 comments:

  1. Thanks for having me and being an inspiration to continue to post about my fitness goals! You have a lot of great info and I hope your readers appreciate you!

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  2. Thanks for doing the post, Apryl. Perhaps I was overly-influenced by Schoolhouse Rock as a kid, but I do believe "knowledge is power." The more you know, the better you can do.

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  3. Yes, I even have the DVD. Have you tried cardio to "Conjunction Junction"? Personally, I prefer "Interjections."

    BTW, go to:

    http://www.schoolhouserock.tv/

    and you can find all the lyrics to all the songs.

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