To understand the benefits of aerobic exercise we should first give a thought to the question what is aerobic activity?
Aerobic activity or aerobic exercise is basically any activity that is of relatively low intensity and that employs the aerobic energy system. That might sound a little complicated or ambiguous, but I’ll break it down further. There are two energy systems we use: the aerobic energy system and the anaerobic energy system. without all the jargon, aerobic means with oxygen and anaerobic means without oxygen. So aerobic activity uses oxygen in its energy production for prolonged activity. That’s the key here…prolonged activity. This means the activity has to be low intensity. If it were very high intensity activity, then we wouldn’t be able to breath and consume oxygen quick enough, and we would have to employ the anaerobic energy system. But this system is only efficient for very quick bursts of activity, which generally only lasts a few seconds. We want aerobic activity for at least a 20 minute workout, or sometimes much more! Now this answers the question what is aerobic activity so what about the benefits of aerobic exercise?
The Benefits of Aerobic Exercise, And Why You Should Add Aerobic Exercise Routines To Your Lifestyle
Let’s just clear up a common misconception regarding the definition of aerobics. Many believe that aerobics refers solely to aerobic type classes whereby somebody stands at the front of a class performing some sort of dance routine for everyone to follow along. This is one type of aerobics, but it’s not the definition of aerobics. Aerobics refers to any exercise that uses the aerobic energy system discussed above, such as running, jogging, cycling, etc. Now we’ve cleared that up we can discuss the benefits of aerobics… For starters, aerobic exercise is great for helping control your weight. Combined with a healthy diet, there is no other method that comes close to exercise for shedding excess fat or maintaining a healthy weight. It’s all about burning excess calories.
Then there’s the stress relief you get from exercise. Performing any physical activity releases endorphins which are the feel good chemicals produced by your own body. This is a fact and should be a good enough reason on its own to get your fitness gear on and get moving (after finishing this article, of course!). There’s also the cardiovascular benefits, that is for your heart, lungs, and vascular system. You heart is a muscle, so the more you work it and put it under the right kind of aerobic stress the stronger it gets. If you have a strong heart, the more you will be able to do! And finally, probably the best reason in this list of benefits of aerobic exercise, is the whole range of direct health benefits. Research has shown that regular exercise reduces your risk of contracting many diseases and illnesses, such as heart disease, certain cancers, and osteoporosis to name only a few. The health benefits of aerobic exercise is a topic all of its own and could take up a thousand web pages. I think you get the idea with the few examples above!
If you really get into your fitness there are a couple of good aerobic fitness tests to monitor your aerobic endurance. These are the Cooper Run and the Bleep Test. The Cooper Run involves (after a thorough 10 minute warm up) a 12 minute run where you run as far as you can. You should record the distance as accurately as you can. Basically, the fitter you get over time, the further you’ll be able to run in your 12 minutes. This takes a bit of getting used to, as you need to judge your capability. There’s a fine line between maximum aerobic exercise and crossing over into anaerobic exercise territory. The second aerobic fitness test, the Bleep Test, is my personal favourite. To perform this test you need to set out a 20 meter marker on flat terrain to run between. Also, you need a bleep CD or tape with the pre-recorded bleeps. These bleeps get progressively faster and your aim is to reach the 20 meter marker on time with the bleep. When you can no longer keep up with the bleep the test is over. The idea is, the fitter you become the more of these 20 meter intervals you will be able to perform.
List of Aerobic Activities
So what are the good aerobic exercise? The list of aerobic activities below will give you an idea of how to improve your fitness. There are many aerobic activities you can perform, all with different levels of intensity. You just need to get your heart and lungs going. Very low intensity exercise can be anything from a gentle stroll in the park to some digging in your back garden. At the other end of the scale, high intensity exercise could include running and cycling. But have a look at the following list of aerobic activities for some ideas.
And so on… Now that you know all the benefits of aerobic exercise, and if you are ready to start incorporating aerobic exercise into your health and fitness routine, take a look at the growing list of free workout plans and aerobic exercise routines. There’s something there for everyone and the list is only getting longer!