Aerobic exercise (also known as aerobics, cardiovascular exercise or cardio) is any sustained, rhythmic activity that primarily uses your larger muscles, such as your quadriceps and hamstrings, and challenges your heart and lungs.
Aerobic means “with oxygen”, so when you exercise aerobically your body uses oxygen to help produce energy during the exercise. Your heart and lungs have to work harder to continuously deliver oxygen to your body during aerobic exercise, and this strengthens your heart and lungs.
There are plenty of ways that you can exercise aerobically. You can walk, run or bike. You can use a treadmill, stationary bike, stair stepper, elliptical machine or rowing machine. You can participate in an aerobic exercise class.
Here are the top five benefits of aerobic exercise:
1. Helps prevent health problems.
Aerobic exercise helps prevent cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, arthritis and stroke. Weight bearing aerobic exercise, such as walking and running, helps prevent osteoporosis. Even if you already suffer from one of these ailments, aerobic exercise can help alleviate the ailment. Aerobic exercise also strengthens your immune system.
2. Strengthens the heart.
Aerobic exercise strengthens the hardest working muscle in your body – your heart. A stronger heart pumps blood more efficiently, which improves blood flow to all parts of your body. Improved blood flow results in more oxygen and essential nutrients being delivered to the cells of your body. It also results in more effective removal of toxins and other waste materials from your body.
3. Helps keep arteries clear.
Aerobic exercise raises HDL (good) cholesterol and lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol. This results in less buildup of plaque in your arteries.
4. Strengthens the respiratory system.
Aerobic exercise improves the efficiency with which your respiratory system can supply oxygen to your body. Your body needs a constant and generous amount of oxygen in order to function properly.
5. Reduces body fat.
Aerobic exercise not only burns calories, it’s the only type of exercise that directly burns body fat. In order for body fat to be burned, oxygen must be used to help produce energy during the exercise, and this only occurs with aerobic exercise.
As you can see, the benefits of aerobic exercise are impressive, so make sure that some type of aerobic exercise is a part of your fitness program.
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