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No matter your age, weight, or athletic ability, aerobic exercise is good for you. See why, and get ready to take action.
Regular aerobic exercise (such as walking, biking, or swimming) can help you live longer and be healthier. Need motivation? Learn how aerobic exercise affects your heart, lungs, and blood flow. Then start moving forward and start reaping the rewards.
What does aerobic exercise do to your body
During aerobic exercise, you repeatedly engage large muscles in your arms, legs, and hips. You'll soon notice your body's reaction.
Your breathing will accelerate and deepen. This maximizes the amount of oxygen in your blood. Your heart beats faster, increasing blood flow to your muscles and back to your lungs.
Your small blood vessels (capillaries) enlarge to deliver more oxygen to your muscles and carry away waste products (such as carbon dioxide and lactic acid).
Your body will even release endorphins, which are natural painkillers that boost happiness.
What are the health benefits of aerobic exercise
Aerobic activity is beneficial regardless of age, weight or athletic ability. No matter how old you are, aerobic exercise is good for health. When your body ADAPTS to regular aerobic exercise, you become stronger and healthier.
Try these 10 ways aerobic activity can help you feel better and enjoy life more fully.
Aerobic exercise can help you:
Control Your weight
Combining aerobic exercise with a healthy diet can help you lose weight and stay slim.
Improve endurance, fitness and strength
When you first start regular aerobic exercise, you may feel tired. But over time, your endurance will increase and fatigue will decrease.
Over time, your heart and lung function as well as bone and muscle strength will increase.
Prevention of viral diseases
Aerobic exercise is a great way to activate your immune system. This makes you less susceptible to mild viral diseases such as colds and influenza.
Reduce health risks
Aerobic exercise reduces the risk of many conditions, including obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, stroke, and some types of cancer.
Weight-bearing aerobic exercise such as walking can help reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
Managing Chronic Conditions
Aerobic exercise helps to lower blood pressure and control blood sugar. Aerobic exercise can reduce pain and improve function in arthritis patients. Aerobic exercise can also improve the quality of life and physical fitness of cancer patients. If you have coronary artery disease, aerobic exercise can help control the condition.
Improve Heart function
A strong heart doesn't need to beat too fast. A strong heart also pumps blood more efficiently, improving blood flow to all parts of the body.
Keep the arteries open
Aerobic exercise can raise high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or "good" cholesterol, and lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or "bad" cholesterol. This reduces the buildup of plaque in the arteries.
Improve your mood
Aerobic exercise can relieve depression, reduce anxiety tension and promote relaxation. Aerobic exercise can also improve sleep.
Stay active and independent as you get older
Aerobic exercise strengthens muscles and can keep you flexible as you age. Exercise can also reduce the risk of falls and fall injuries in older adults. It can also improve the quality of life.
Aerobic exercise also keeps your mind sharp. Regular physical activity helps protect memory, reasoning, judgment and thinking skills (cognitive functions) in older adults. It also improves cognitive function in children and young adults. It may even help prevent the onset of dementia and improve cognitive performance in people with dementia.
Studies show that people who regularly engage in aerobic exercise live longer than those who don't. There was also a lower risk of death from all causes, including heart disease and some cancers.
Take the first step
Ready to be more active? Good. But remember to slow down at first. If you have been inactive for a long time or have a chronic health condition, you should get your doctor's approval before starting exercise.
Once you're ready to start exercising, take it slow. You can walk five minutes in the morning and five minutes in the morning. Any physical activity is better than no activity.
The next day, add a few minutes to each walk. And pick up the pace. Soon, you'll be easily walking briskly for at least 30 minutes a day and reaping the benefits of regular aerobic exercise. The more you exercise, the more you benefit.
Other cardio exercises include cross-country skiing, aerobic dancing, swimming, stair climbing, biking, jogging, elliptical training or rowing.
If you have a medical condition that limits your ability to perform aerobic exercise, consult your doctor about alternative options. For example, if you have arthritis, water exercise may be a good option, giving you the benefits of aerobic exercise without putting strain on your joints.
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