In simple language Aerobics means
with ‘air’. By ‘air’ it means Oxygen. It refers to continuous utilization
of Oxygen by the body during certain physical activities. Such utilization
is possible only when the condition of heart is pretty good. Importance
of continuous utilization of Oxygen by the body (at a fast speed
such as during aerobic activities) is that it helps oxidation of
fatty acids (i.e. Fats) and thereby lowering the fat level in the
body. Aerobics is therefore preferred for fat loss program. Aerobic
activities are aerobic dance, stationary cycling, treadmill,
rowing machine, stair climbing, running, jogging, brisk walking,
Utilization of Oxygen takes place via two modes. First – the transportation
of Oxygen from the outer environment to the Blood in Cardiovascular
system (Heart) of the body via Lungs. Second – transportation of
Oxygen from the heart to the cells of the each body-part through
blood. To perform these two functions at an enhanced level, the
capabilities of lungs and heart are required to be improved. A conditioned
heart can pump more blood per beat and that means heart works less
to pump more blood per minute. This is called Cardio Vascular Fitness
or VO2 Max i.e. intake of maximum volume of Oxygen per minute by
You can form your own aerobic sequences consisting of different
steps, which when done non-stop in smooth motion, will give aerobic
workout. So you can form a sequence consisting of various asanas
or exercises or weight training exercises ( also called circuit
training) to get some aerobic workout out of your own exercise routine.
Aerobic Dance & Music: When you do any
exercise fast enough on the beats of a music in a rhythmic pattern
it looks like a dance. This kind of dance exercise is called aerobic
dance. In every music which is used for aerobic dance there are
beats. Beats are sounds of those drums and other bass instruments
which occur at regular intervals with a rhythmic pattern inside
the music. Above these beats superimposed is melody of the music.
Inside the music how many beats occur per minute decides the speed
of a music. In a fast music beats per minute is higher than the
slow music. You have to move your body as per the speed of the music.
Therefore when you perform aerobic in a fast music you are said
to be working on high impact. The speed of the music sets the TEMPO
of the class.
To count the number of
beats per minute in a music you
- Play the music
- Listen for the beats
- When you identified the beats, start a stopwatch and start
counting the beats.
- Count the beats for 10 seconds and multiply it by 6.
- This is No. of beats per minute of the said music (BPM).
The speed of the music or Tempo of the class may
be slow, moderate or fast. Slow music is used for simple body movements
and stretching. Moderate Tempo is used for Warm-ups and Low intensity
movements. Fast Tempo is used for high intensity movements. It is
important to note that while faster music may lead to more uncontrolled
movements there-by causing the chances of injury, too slow music
will also create a heavy feeling and the body in space will work
with gravity which is injurious to joints.
The number of beats per minute in a music is further divided in
small groups called Measures and Blocks. Four beats constitute 1
Measure and 4 Measures constitute 1 Block. After one Block you may
change your body movement pattern.
For example: / ----- / = 1 Measure / ----- / +
/ ------- / + / ------ / + / ------- / = 4 Measures = 1 Block.
Movement of the body: Body moves with the beats. At the stroke or
sound of the beat body weight is placed on the surface or the foot
touches the floor. Body movement takes place between the sound of
the beats. Body takes time to move in the space in between the beats
and may consume some beats during the movement. Some movement requires
only 1 beat to be executed. Other movements require 2 or 4 beats.
It is therefore necessary to place your centre of gravity precisely
on time with the beat to continue with the music. The change of
dance steps also takes place between the beats or by consuming some
beats. But the beat consumption should also be rhythmical i.e. you
have to complete the step within a measure so that you can repeat
the same movement in the next measure.
It is also necessary to note how many beats you consume to complete
a step. For example while spot marching you strike your foot with
every beat. However while doing knee-up you consume one extra beat
to raise the knee. Therefore if in 1 block you perform 16 Marching
you can do only 8 knee-ups in 1 block. Here you should not try to
do 16 knee-ups in 1 block.
When you start an aerobic class you start with slower to moderate
speed and slowly increase the speed of the class. This allows the
cardiovascular system of the body i.e. heart to increase the heart
rate per minute slowly. Any music selection for the aerobics class
should be on the above lines. The Tempo of the class should be set
in a progressive Manner. However if you start the class with slow
tempo and all of a sudden jump to fast tempo or all of a sudden
jump down from fast tempo to slow tempo, something as illustrated
hereunder, then it will have serious negative impact on the body
and therefore not advisable. But if you plan for a high impact class
for the well trained members then you can start your class with
a higher Tempo (say 132 BPM ) so that you can reach your high intensity
peak safely and quickly and stay there for a longer time.
However during morning sessions and during winter months it is always
advisable to start the class with moderate speed. The Music you
are playing plays an important role in determining the mood of the
class. It should be such which gives the motivation to move with
energy and smile.