In simple terms, ‘Aerobic’ translates to ‘with oxygen’. Aerobic exercise is characterized by an elevated heart rate, just enough to maintain for a considerable amount of time. The American Heart Association advises 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, five days a week, for improved cardiovascular health.
How it Works
The purpose of aerobic exercise is to boost your body’s capacity to use oxygen. During aerobic activity, your muscles require more oxygen than when stationary. The increase in the heart’s ventricles results in faster delivery of blood and oxygen to your muscles. The idea is to elevate the heart’s capacity to send blood within the same heart rate.
Types of Aerobic Exercises
The intensive nature of aerobic exercises may vary. Low intensity aerobic exercises include swimming, cycling, brisk walking, rowing, using an elliptical, while high intensity aerobic activity includes running, step aerobics and jumping rope.
Benefits of Aerobic Exercises
Aerobic exercise, as a habitual practice, is highly recommended by experts. This is no surprise, as it offers a wide array of benefits to the body.
Reduces Risk of Heart Disease
Pivotal to improved cardiovascular health, aerobic exercises strengthen your heart and augment its ability to pump blood.
Lowers Cholesterol levels
Aerobic exercise is known to increase HDL, the ‘good cholesterol’ and mitigate levels of LDL, the ‘bad cholesterol’.
Lowers Blood Pressure
The nature of this exercise helps in alleviating blood pressure, precursor to heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends 40 minutes of moderate to high intensity aerobic exercise to lower blood pressure.
While any exercise can catalyze weight loss, aerobic activity proves more effective than anaerobic activity. Fat requires more oxygen to burn and the high oxygen levels supplied to the body during aerobic exercise result in quicker weight loss.
Aerobic exercise improves lung fitness, resulting in overall respiratory health, warding off asthma and other pulmonary diseases.
Risks of Aerobic Exercises
Any physical activity, including aerobic exercise, poses some risks. If you have any existing physical ailment, exercise safety and consult a doctor first. High intensity aerobic exercise may cause stress fractures and other injuries so adapt the exercise to your body’s capacity.
Taking precautionary measures, the benefits of aerobic exercises significantly outweigh the risks.