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Aerobic Training to Tone Your Body and Drop Fat Fast - by Jerry Ryan, Ph.D.

Aerobic training exercises are any activities which increase your heart rate by movement of the body. This includes walking, running, cycling, cross-country skiing, swimming, and interval training with weights. Aerobic exercise strengthens the cardiovascular system which is the heart, arteries, and veins.

Aerobic exercise also increases the efficiency of the respiratory system by improving the oxygen / CO2 exchange ability of the lungs. As a result, an aerobically fit individual can work longer, more vigorously, and achieve a quicker recovery. By working out longer and at a higher intensity, you will burn more calories for a longer period. This type of training leads to more weight loss in a shorter length of time.

What factors affect aerobic training? Frequency, duration and intensity directly influence an aerobic workout. Frequency refers to how often you perform aerobic activity. Duration refers to the time spent at each session. Intensity refers to the percentage of your maximum heart rate at which you work.

How often should I train? How hard? For how long? Most experts believe that 3-5 times per week for a period of 20-60 minutes at 60-90% of your age-specific maximal heart rate.

How do I determine my target heart rate? The general formula for the average person is to start with 220 minus your age, then multiply that number X 60% to get the lower-end of the target range and multiply it X 90% to get the maximum. For example, a 30-year-old would calculate his target zone using the above formula: 220-30=190. 190 x .6 = 114 and 190 x .9 = 171. This person would try to keep his or her heart rate between 114 (low end) and 171 (high end) beats per minute.

Don't worry if you don't have a Heart Rate Monitor, the Borg scale of Perceived Exertion is another way of determining how hard you are working. Using your own subjective Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) on a scale of 6-20 or a scale of 0-10, you determine how hard you "feel" you are working.

Original Borg Scale


7- Very, very light


9 - Very light


11 - Fairly light


13 - Somewhat hard


15 - Hard


17 - Very hard


19 - Very, very hard

20 -* Maximal

Revised Borg Scale

0 - Nothing at all

0.5 - Very, very weak

1 - Very weak

2 - Weak

3 - Moderate

4 - Somewhat strong

5 - Strong


7 - Very strong


9 - Very, very strong

10 - * Maximal

The "Talk Test" is another good way of establishing how hard you are working, if you find it difficult to say a few words, you are probably working out anaerobically. For a good indication of aerobic exercise, you should be able to say a few words, catch your breath, and then carry on talking. If you are talking all the way through your workout, it's a good bet that you're not working hard enough.

Add aerobic exercise to your training regimen and watch the pounds drop off quickly. These tips are just a portion of an eight-week class that I teach online called 'The Answer's Right Under Your Nose'. To find out more about it, go to the 'Personal Coaching' on my website.

Jerry Ryan, Ph.D. is a Natural Health Coach who teaches individuals and group classes on the scientifically documented benefits of natural health techniques.  He is also an internationally published author and has been a guest speaker at such places as NIKE World Headquarters.  For more information, his website is http://www.JerryRyanPhD.com

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