The term aerobic means „with oxygen.” During an aerobic exercise workout, the cardiovascular system, which includes the heart, lungs and blood vessels, responds to increased levels of physical activity by increasing the oxygen that is available to the body’s working muscles. Fitness Aerobics involves an exercise routine that uses large muscle groups, is maintained for a sustained period of time and is rhythmic in nature. Regular aerobic exercise improves your level of fitness, as your heart becomes stronger and begins to work more efficiently. The end result is that the heart can pump more blood (thus increasing oxygen delivery to the tissues) with each heartbeat.
As your aerobic fitness increases, you will be able to work out longer with greater intensity and you will recover more quickly at the end of your workout session.
What are some examples of aerobic exercise?
There are numerous activities that can provide an aerobic workout. Some examples include biking, jogging, running, swimming, cross-country skiing, basketball, jumping rope, roller skating, brisk fitness walking and some types of dancing. In addition to these activities, an aerobic workout can be achieved in a specially designed aerobic dance class or by using stationary exercise machines (cycles, treadmills, stair-steppers, rowing machines, just to name a few) that can be found at a local gym or health club. Most of these machines can also be purchased and set up for home use.
Now that you are aware of the types of activities that can provide an aerobic workout, it’s easier to see how you can fit this kind of exercise activity into your routine.
Who can participate in aerobic exercise?
Virtually everyone can participate in some type of aerobic exercise. Because each type of aerobic exercise can be modified to varying intensity levels, people with a variety of fitness goals, levels of physical conditioning and injury/illness history can participate. If you are just beginning an exercise program, are older than 40, or have a known history of heart disease, high blood pressure or other cardiovascular disorder, it is advised that you consult with your physician before beginning any exercise program. Aerobic exercise has proven beneficial for people with a variety of medical disorders such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity, arthritis, anxiety and premenstrual syndrome.
What are the added benefits of aerobic exercise?
Studies have shown repeatedly that there are numerous health benefits to aerobic exercise. In addition to the benefits to the cardiovascular system, aerobic exercise can:
- Increase resistance to fatigue and give you more energy. Aerobic exercise can add life to your years along with years to your life.
- Improve mood and reduce depression and anxiety. Positive mood changes have been noted after as little as two to three weeks of aerobic exercise.
- Improve the quality of your sleep. Studies show that people who exercise regularly get to sleep quicker and report more restful sleep patterns. It is best to complete your aerobic exercise routine one to two hours before your regular bedtime because it takes a little time for the general emotional and physical relaxation to set in after a workout.
- Increase the good (HDL) cholesterol. This type of cholesterol is known to reduce the risk of heart disease.
- Help to control and reduce body fat. Aerobic exercise in conjunction with a proper diet can decrease body fat.
- Reduce the risk of certain types of cancer. Aerobic exercise has been associated with a reduction in the incidence of colon cancer in both males and females, and the incidence of breast and reproductive organ cancers in women.