Aerobic Exercise Essay, Research Paper
What do you think of when the word aerobics enters your
mind? Have you ever considered applying aerobics to your life? Do
you know what benefits there are? Whatever you may be thinking,
here is a more thorough explanation to help better understand
what aerobics is.
Basically, aerobics is any activity that uses large muscle
groups, can be maintained continuously for a long period of time,
and is rhythmic in nature. Aerobic activity trains the heart,
lungs, and cardiovascular system to process and deliver oxygen
more quickly and efficiently to every part of the body. Think of
aerobic activity as being long in duration yet low in intensity.
Aerobic activities include: walking, biking, jogging, swimming,
aerobic classes and cross-country skiing.
The word aerobic means “with air” or “oxygen . You know
you are doing aerobic exercise if you are able to carry on a
short conversation while exercising. If you are gasping for air
while talking, you are probably working anaerobically. When you
work anaerobically, you will tire faster and are more likely to
experience sore muscles after exercise is over.
Aerobic exercise conditions the heart and lungs by
increasing the oxygen available to the body and by enabling the
heart to use oxygen more efficiently. Exercise alone cannot
prevent or cure heart disease. It is only one factor in a total
program of risk reduction; examples of other factors are high
blood pressure, cigarette smoking and high cholesterol level.
In addition to cardiovascular benefits, other benefits of
Aerobic exercise include: control of body fat (aerobic exercise
in conjunction with strength training and a proper diet will
reduce body fat), increased resistance to fatigue and extra
energy, toned muscles and increased lean body mass, decreased
tension and aid in sleeping, reduced risk of heart disease,
elevated blood pressure at normal levels, increased Levels of HDL
(High-Density Lipoproteins-”good” cholesterol), increased general
stamina and psychological benefits (exercise improves mood,
reduces depression and anxiety). All in all, when we engage in
aerobic activity on a regular basis, we feel better, look better,
and add a better quality to our lives.
There are many factors that affect aerobic training:
Frequency is how often you perform aerobic activity (do aerobic
exercise 3 – 5 times per week), duration is the time spent at
each session (spend 20 – 60 minutes during each session of
aerobic exercise), intensity is the percentage of your maximum
heart rate at which you work (work out at 60 – 90% of your age-
specific maximal heart rate), eating technique is a smart way to
start eating foods high in complex carbohydrates and low in fat
(eating “heavy” meals will prevent you from exercising to
your full potential and it will also keep you from losing
weight). Don t forget to eat foods that have vitamins and
minerals (do not consume them from supplements), refrain from
sugar consumption during an exercise session (sugar consumption
during exercise will retard fat burning in favor of the sugar),
consume alcohol and caffeine only in moderation, and do not eat
immediately after a workout; if you do, make sure your foods are
high in (mostly complex) carbohydrates, lower in protein, and
either very low or no fat (wait about an hour after the workout
In aerobics, Warm-Up and Cool-Down is important to reduce
discomfort and the chance for injury. A Warm-Up raises the heart
rate and blood flow, increases muscle temperature, and improves
muscle function (jogging in place or stationary cycling). Warm-Up
for aerobic exercise by performing the exercise at a very low
intensity and gradually build up over 2 to 10 minutes at the end
of your workout. A Cool-Down brings the heart rate down to near-
normal and gets the blood circulating freely back to the heart.
Skipping the Cool-Down may result in fainting and can also place
undue stress on the heart. Do not stop and stand abruptly without
cooling down. You run the risk of getting dizzy and/or passing
out. A good example is stretching, it relaxes the muscles which
worked so hard during the activity, increases flexibility and
helps prevent Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness(DOMS).
Here are some aerobic activities that you may be
interested in getting specific benefits out of:
Walking is the simplest, safest, and least expensive
exercise, it is particularly good for post-menopausal women
because it is a weight-bearing exercise which may help slow down
Cycling gives the heart and circulatory system an
outstanding aerobic workout. It burns 700 calories in one hour
and also conditions your legs, upper back, and shoulders.
Jogging/Running is one of the easiest and least
expensive workouts. It increases the fitness of the
cardiovascular system by decreasing heart rate and blood
Swimming offers the best full-body workout. It is one
of the best aerobic exercises due to its emphasis on heart and
lung strength. It also develops muscle strength and endurance and
improves posture and flexibility.
Water Aerobics provides fitness benefits without putting
stress on joints and muscles.
Cross-country Skiing has a kick-and-glide technique. If
you combine a poling motion to propel you along, it will provide
a more complete workout than running or cycling, both of which
emphasize only lower body muscles. It also helps develop
Rhythmic Aerobics is a feel-good activity that benefits
you mentally and physically (reduces stress placed on joints and
Jumping Rope develops cardiovascular and muscular
endurance, agility, coordination, and muscular strength. It can
be done virtually anywhere, costs virtually nothing, and is e
extremely easy to learn.
Rowing utilizes more muscles-not only the arms, but also the legs, abdomen, and torso. It burns more calories than any
other activity (except Cross-country skiing. It provides all the
aerobic benefits of running in a workout that also effectively
builds muscular strength and endurance. It is also a stress-free
Step Aerobics is performed on a platform which usually
ranges from 4″ to 10″ in height. It was developed to provide a
low-impact activity that is both challenging and interesting. It
has efficient means of improving aerobic fitness.
If your goal is to lead a balanced lifestyle and enhance
your health and well being, keep in mind that it is very
important to perform aerobic exercise regularly even if the
intensity is low or the duration is short. The bottom line for
health and well being is to get some frequent aerobic activity.
Try to enjoy and take it easy so you will want to keep it up.