With health problems such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes on the rise, aerobic exercise has become a major topic in health news across the nation. In an ideal world aerobic and anaerobic (muscle building) exercise should be combined to make a well rounded fitness plan. It is possible to be in fantastic muscular condition yet lack endurance due to a lack of aerobic exercise in your exercise program. Aerobic exercise carries numerous health benefits that weight training alone can’t attain.
Aerobic exercise is activity of low intensity performed for an extended period of time that increases the heart rate and level of oxygen in the blood. The object of aerobic activity is to achieve and maintain a target heart rate determined for females by subtracting their age from 220 then multiplying by a factor of 60% and for men by subtracting their age from 226 then multiplying by a factor of 60%. Intermediate and advanced level exercisers should multiply by a factor of 80%.
Another important benefit of aerobic exercise is strengthening of the heart muscle. When the heart is strengthened it increases the blood flow to the body and it is able to handle more strenuous activity without having to beat as fast. This is a key factor in preventing heart disease and high blood pressure.
The resultant escalation in blood flow allows more oxygen to be carried to the muscles and additional waste products, that can cause muscle aches and pains, to be carried away. You will also see an increase in the HDL or good cholesterol and a decrease in LDL or bad cholesterol which helps stop plaque from building up in the arteries.
Aerobic exercise also causes the body to release endorphins which induce a sense of well being and act as a natural pain killer. Over an extended length of time exercisers will usually notice an increase in stamina and a reduction in feelings of fatigue as well as a decrease in tension and stress.
In addition, people who exercise regularly tend to sleep better and have stronger immune systems which helps to prevent infection from common colds and flu viruses. a number of researchers believe that aerobic workouts can reduce cognitive decline in older adults and provide a longer and healthier life.
Most experts believe that the average person should engage in a minimum of 30 consecutive minutes of aerobic activity at least 3 to 4 times per week. This activity can be walking, dancing, swimming, bicycling or any other low impact activity that helps you reach and sustain the target heart rate.
The secret to beginning an aerobic fitness program is to start slow. If you can only manage walking 5-10 minutes a day, start with that and increase by 1-2 minutes every 2-3 days until you build up to 30 minutes of uninterrupted aerobic walking daily. No matter what form of activity you choose you ought to maintain a challenging yet comfortable pace and increase your workouts by small amounts at regular intervals.
Make sure that you design a workout schedule to keep you on track and choose activities that fit with your personality and are enjoyable for you to do. If you don’t like the specific activity you choose, you probably won’t stick with it. It may seem trivial but having the appropriate workout apparel can significantly affect your workout experience also. Your shoes must fit the activity you are doing and your clothing should be materials that breathe to supply maximum comfort during your workout and prevent the body from overheating.
Lastly, set goals for yourself, both long and short term and relish in the achievement of each one. To provide the encouragement you need and heighten the fun, get your relatives and friends involved as well. Incorporating relatives and friends into your exercise routines will make it much easier to make regular workouts a normal part of your daily routine.
So start now. It doesn’t matter if you dance, walk on a treadmill, use an elliptical machine, use an ab roller, or ride a bike; aerobic exercise will enhance your health and quality of life and help you to live longer and happier. Don’t wait! It’s a matter of life and health!