Aerobics is a distinct family of aerobic exercises, combining a relatively low intensity workout over an extended period to increase cardio-vascular fitness, endurance and in some instances, flexibility.
Aerobic vs anaerobic exercise
The aim of aerobic exercise is to condition the heart and lungs by increasing the oxygen available to the body and by enabling the heart to use oxygen more efficiently – as distinct from anaerobic exercise which is used to improve strength and speed and also increase muscle mass.
In essence, aerobic and anaerobic exercise differ by the duration and intensity of muscular contractions involved, as well as by how energy is generated within the muscle. This scientific distinction is in practice somewhat blurred and there are often strength training elements to some aerobics classes.
Both the term ‘aerobics’ and the fundamentals as a form of exercise were developed within the US Air Force by exercise physiologist, Dr Kenneth Cooper and physical therapist, Col. Pauline Potts. Since the 1960’s when Dr Cooper wrote his influential book, Aerobics, the field has seen a great deal of innovation and development. Today most fitness clubs and sports centres offer a wide range of different forms of aerobics from Boxercise to Zumba.
The aerobics class
Usually performed to music and more often than not practiced in a group setting led by a certified instructor, the ultimate goal of aerobics is to promote physical fitness and improve overall health and wellbeing.
Instructors lead various routines comprising a number of different dance-like exercises, while aerobics classes are usually divided into different levels of intensity and complexity. Participants are usually able to choose an aerobics class based both on their level of fitness and also their level of proficiency in a particular form of aerobics.
Find an aerobics class or instructor with Classfinder
Classfinder is a free community focussed website that connects fitness clubs and class instructors with people interested in improving their fitness. There are currently around 500 aerobics classes – from a total of almost 14000 from around the UK listed on Classfinder.
Why not join Classfinder today to see what aerobics classes are available near you and maybe even experiment with one of the many forms of aerobics?