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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

before eating).

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.

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