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More Oxygen Means More Fitness

What is aerobic exercise and why should it be part of everyone’s workout plan? Aerobic exercise increases your body’s need for oxygen and strengthens your heart and lungs as they use that oxygen. When your heart and lungs are stronger, they don’t have to work as hard when you work out. And they’re stronger for everyday activities too.

February is American Heart Month.
Celebrate by increasing your knowledge of aerobic exercise. Whether you call it aerobics or cardio, here’s why it’s an important element in a smart workout plan.

When your cardiovascular system (heart and lungs) gets stronger and works easier, you’ll reap great benefits:
• Lower resting heart rate
• Reduced resting blood pressure (systolic and diastolic)
• Increased maximal oxygen consumption (VO2 max)

Aerobic exercise helps your muscles work more efficiently too:
• Increases blood supply to the muscles
• Enhances your muscles’ ability to use oxygen
• Increases the threshold for muscle fatigue (lactic acid accumulation)

Aerobics reduce the risk of illness and improve your overall health:
• Reduce body fat and improve weight control
• Decrease total cholesterol
• Increase HDL (good) cholesterol
• Improve glucose tolerance and reduces insulin resistance
• Elevate your mood and have shown to decrease clinical symptoms of anxiety,
  tension and depression.

What are aerobic exercises?
Any activity that increases your body’s need for oxygen is considered to be “aerobic.” There are three main elements of aerobic exercise:

Moderate activities that use large muscle groups
• Involve your legs, arms and torso
• Don’t overexert yourself
• Aim for a heart rate that is 60%-85% of your maximum heart rate.
• Simple test: You should be able to talk or sing while you are exercising at an aerobic

Rhythmic activity
•Activities that are repetitive are good aerobic exercises:
• Walking
• Bicycling
• Running
• Climbing stairs
• Dancing
• Rollerblading
• Swimming

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