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Aerobics for the Heart

Aerobic Exercise
Over 20 years of research has shown that aerobic exercise is one of the best things you can do for your health and well-being. Aerobic exercise improves the efficiency of the heart, lungs and blood vessels as well as the efficiency of the metabolic enzymes that regulate the conversion of stored energy in muscle cells.

The benefits of Aerobics
Oxygen can only be supplied to the muscles through the red blood cells. When muscles are being used in exercise, the heart must pump more blood through the body to supply the extra need for oxygen. This, in turn, causes the lungs to be expanded to fill the need of oxygen required by the red blood cells being quickly moved through the body.
Due to the fact that the muscles are requiring more oxygen to create energy, the body naturally increases the amount of oxygen inhaled. The heart rate increases as it pumps the blood through the system faster to supply the necessary oxygen to each muscle. Thus the circulation of the blood is greatly increased.
This increase in circulation has a twofold benefit to the body. First, an abundant supply of oxygen is taken not only to the muscles, but also to every part of the system. And second, the blood is circulated through the eliminating organs at a much greater amount, thus resulting in an increase in the elimination of the body's wastes. Both of these are essential for good health and healing.
Regular aerobic exercise can facilitate the following:
  • Strengthens the muscles of respiration and tends to reduce the resistance to airflow, ultimately facilitating the rapid flow of air in and out of the lungs.
  • Improves the strength and pumping efficiency of the heart, enabling more blood to be pumped with each stroke. This improves the ability to more rapidly transport life sustaining oxygen from the lungs to the heart and to all parts of the body.
  • Tones up muscles throughout the body, thereby improving the general circulation, at times lowering the blood pressure and reducing the work on the heart.
  • Causes an increase in the total amount of blood circulating through the body and increases the number of red blood cells and the amount of hemoglobin (matter which conveys oxygen to tissues), making the blood a more efficient oxygen carrier.
  • Aerobics can raise your body's high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels (good cholesterol) and lower your body's low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels (bad cholesterol), improving blood flow, and increasing your heart's working capacity.

A physically fit person has greater ability to tolerate the physical challenges of daily life, whereas an unfit person would terminate activity because of fatigue.
While exercising, you want to work hard enough (intensity) for your heart rate to reach between 140 and 170 - approximately double your resting rate. A person who is in poor physical condition will reach the Target Heart Rate with very little effort expended because the resting rate is high (80's or 90's) and the body does not have enough oxygen, so the person gets tired very quickly. On the other hand, the person in good physical condition will have to work harder to reach the target heart rate because the resting heart rate is low (50's). Remember, the heart becomes a more efficient pump - delivering the oxygen needed with fewer beats. Therefore, it takes more effort to get the heart rate up to 170.

The Benefits of Aerobic Exercises
Forms of Aerobic Exercises
Keeping the Beat in Aerobics

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Related Topics
Benefits of Aerobics
Forms of Aerobics
The Aerobic Beat
Importance of exercise
Maximum heart rate
Heart Rate Monitors
Before you start
Setting up your workout