The Meaning and Importance of Aerobics
The meaning and importance of aerobics, also called cardio exercise, becomes clear when you understand that it can extend your life and improve your overall health.
Doing aerobic activity — something that gets your heart pumping — impacts nearly every part of your body and can help prevent colds and other illnesses, reduce your risk of some diseases and may help you lose weight.
Even though your heart may race when you watch an exciting movie, this does not count as aerobics. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, aerobic activity engages large muscle groups and must be something rhythmic that you can continuously perform for a period of time, usually 20 minutes or more
This differs from strength training, because working out with weights can target small and large muscles, does not have to be rhythmic, and each activity is not generally maintained for 20 minutes.
Benefits of Aerobics
Regularly including aerobics in your workout regime improves your mood; aerobic activity prompts your body to release endorphins, chemicals that influence mood and decrease pain perception. Doing aerobics also increases the amount of oxygen delivered to your body parts and expands your lung capacity, which boosts your stamina and wards off fatigue.
Regularly engaging in aerobics decreases your risk of developing diabetes, osteoporosis, high blood pressure and heart disease as well. It may also improve age-related maladies; MayoClinic.com reports that doing 30 minutes of aerobics every other day fights off memory loss and other cognitive problems as you get older.
Low-impact aerobics include activities such as walking; using a stationery bicycle, elliptical trainer or step machine; or engaging in water sports such as swimming. These exercises provide cardiovascular benefits but do not jolt your joints or back, as they generally allow you to keep one foot on the floor at all times. In swimming, this is not the case, but the water provides a gentle workout environment.
In addition to the positive impact on your cardiovascular fitness, if you are pregnant, low-impact aerobics may have other health benefits. A study published in the December 2012 issue of “Current Opinions in Obstetrics and Gynecology” indicates that doing low-impact aerobic activity during pregnancy may stave off issues such as urinary incontinence and low back pain.
Good joint health allows you to engage in high-impact aerobics, or exercises that may require both feet to lose contact with the floor simultaneously or are harder on your joints than low-impact exercises. These activities include running, high-intensity dance forms, bicycling, skiing, rollerblading or rollerskating and tennis.
High-impact aerobic exercise may have particular importance for premenopausal women. Researchers looked at six studies on premenopausal women and high-impact exercise, the results of which were published in the January 2012 issue of “Osteoporosis International.”
Researchers determined that premenopausal women who regularly engaged in high-impact exercise of a duration of less than 30 minutes improved bone mineral density in the hip region. This finding suggests that including a small amount of high-impact aerobic exercise in your workout routine may decrease your risk of osteoporosis as you age.
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