For a while aerobics classes were all the rage, with Jane Fonda type aerobics instructors, upbeat music playing and so on. However the term aerobics is actually more inclusive, and we have not just group classes but also people choosing to work out by themselves, using aerobic exercise machines, instruction DVDs and so on.
The term aerobics as well as the specific exercise moves that the term connotes were propounded by US Air Force personnel Dr. Kenneth Cooper, M.D., an exercise physiologist, and Col. Pauline Potts, a physical therapist.
In his ground breaking bestselling book Aerobics, published as far back as 1968, Dr Cooper shed more light on activities involving aerobic exercise machines, such as walking, bicycling, running and swimming.
Today we define aerobics as any form of physical exercise that combines rhythmic aerobic exercise with stretching and strength training routines with the goal of improving all elements of fitness (flexibility, muscular strength, and cardio-vascular fitness).
The principle of Oxygen Consumption Equivalency was propounded by Dr Cooper’s book back then and it is this that still serves as the scientific baseline for today’s fitness programs that involve aerobics as well as in the manufacture of aerobic exercise machines. The book serves as a sort of benchmark till date.
Aerobic exercise machines are geared towards giving people different kinds of workouts relating to the rather all encompassing term ‘aerobics’ as well as the different types of aerobics such as Step Aerobics, Freestyle Aerobics, Water Aerobics, Aerobic Gymnastics, Sport Aerobics as well as the Yoga postures that are now considered to be part of aerobic workout routines.
Aerobics as we understand the term today is one that brings within its ambit a host of activities whether performed with or without aerobic exercise machines – jogging, walking, swimming, cycling, running, dancing, skipping, rowing are all aerobic exercises, in other words any activity that elevates the heart rate and keeps it elevated for a certain length of time, which helps to condition the cardiovascular system and improve overall fitness can be described as aerobics.
The most commonly used aerobic exercise machines for the different kinds of aerobics are-
- For freestyle or sports aerobics, the aerobic exercise machines most commonly used are treadmills, stationary exer-cycles, or regular outdoor cycles, elliptical machines (which are low impact and offer an upper and lower body workout). Simple implements such as a jump rope also offer an excellent aerobic workout. You can also get an effective aerobic workout using no aerobic exercise machines at all; just going for a jog or run or by dancing to your favorite music.
- Aerobic exercise machines for step aerobics are usually different types of steppers, which offer a great lower body workout. These step machines can be of different heights or they may be adjustable to increase or decrease the height.
- For Water or Swimming aerobics one would typically use other equipment rather than any actual aerobic exercise machines. Water aerobics is low impact and safe, and all that you may require is gears such as cap, underwater goggles, swimming suits and so on.