Getting to the Heart of Cardio
Exercise can be broken down into two categories: aerobic (with oxygen) and anaerobic (without oxygen). Anaerobic exercise uses a large amount of oxygen in a short amount of time and leaves you out of breath quickly. It is referred to as “without oxygen” because the exercise you are performing uses the oxygen your body already has stored. This form of exercise includes activities such as lifting weights or sprinting, and is predominately used to build speed and strength. Aerobic exercise, also known as cardiovascular exercise, lasts an extended period of time and stimulates the heart and lungs in order to continuously pump oxygenated blood through the body, which is then used to fuel the ongoing activity.
One of the most coveted benefits of aerobic exercise is its correlation with weight loss. Aerobic exercise burns a large number of calories and is crucial to any weight loss plan. That said, aerobics is linked with far more benefits than weight loss alone. Take a look at these three major benefits from engaging in regular aerobic “cardiovascular” exercise.
Helps prevent Health Problems:
Aerobics have a significant effect on our health. Studies have linked cardiovascular exercise to reduced chances of developing depression, osteoporosis, certain cancers, type 2 diabetes, arthritis, strokes, and cardiovascular diseases. In some of the above cases, cardiovascular exercise can even help relieve symptoms from ailments you already suffer from. Aerobic exercise also raises HDL (good cholesterol) and lowers LDL (bad cholesterol) levels. This decreases the chances of plaque buildup in your arteries, and lowers risk of heart related illness and attacks.
Possibly the most important benefit from aerobic exercise is its strengthening effect on the heart. The heart is the hardest working muscle in the body; it beats roughly 100,000 times and pumps nearly 2,000 gallons of blood through the body every day. Aerobic exercise strengthens the heart and reduces the stress put on it. The greater your cardiovascular health, the more efficient your heart works, resulting is less pumps and improved blood flow. This ultimately leads to more oxygen and nutrients being delivered to the cells across your body.
Along with the benefits to the heart, aerobics also helps improve the efficiency of your respiratory system and can help your breathing. The reason anaerobic exercise is short lived, is because the body needs a constant supply of oxygen to function, on a physical and functional level. Aerobic exercise helps your respiratory system supply oxygen to your body.
These benefits can be obtained by simply engaging in aerobic (cardiovascular) exercise on a regular basis. It is recommended that the average adult get approximately 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity a week (brisk walking, swimming, mowing the lawn) or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise (running, biking, etc.) However, as a general rule, try to get at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity in a day in order to gain the full benefits.
Remember that the level of the aerobic exercise varies from person to person. A brisk walk for 10 minutes may be considered vigorous aerobic exercise for some, but light to moderate for someone else. There is no reason for not being able to make a factor as important as aerobic exercise a regular part of your day. It is recommended to perform thirty minutes at once, but if you don’t have the time to perform 30 minutes of aerobic exercise, break it into three 10 minute periods throughout the day instead. Good luck, and enjoy the heart healthy benefits of aerobic exercise.