Importance of Aerobics

Karen Frazier
bicyclists at gym

Have you ever wondered about the importance of aerobics? Is it necessary to spend time either sweating on the treadmill or sweating to the oldies? Achieving aerobic fitness is important for a number of reasons.

Aerobics Defined

Aerobics doesn't just mean getting dressed up in a fancy leotard and Rebooks and joining a class. Instead, aerobics can be any activity that gets your heart rate going and keeps it at a sustained rate over a period of time. Twenty minutes is the generally accepted minimum time that heart rate should be sustained in order to be considered an aerobic workout. However, that doesn't mean a sustained 20 minutes where it feels like your heart is going to beat out of your chest. Instead, aerobic activity is performed at about 65% to 80% of your maximum heart rate - a concept commonly referred to as target heart rate.

There are a number of exercises that fit the bill as aerobic exercises. Along with traditional aerobics classes, any exercise that gets you into the target heart rate zone and keeps you there counts. This can include walking, hiking, jogging, bicycling, swimming and rowing just to name a few, along with the gym standbys like the elliptical trainer, exercise bike and treadmill. Many activities can be made into aerobics activities if you put enough effort into them. Consider aerobic cleaning, for instance, or aerobic lawn mowing.

About the Importance of Aerobics

What is the importance of aerobics? First and foremost, doing aerobics increases cardiorespiratory fitness, which is one of the five essential components of physical fitness. Cardiorespiratory fitness is the ability of the body's circulatory systems to maintain oxygen levels and supply fuel during sustained physical activity.

It isn't as circular as it sounds. While aerobic fitness is important for doing aerobics, there's more to it than that. Being aerobically fit means that you have a strong heart, circulatory system and lungs, and those factors affect you far beyond your ability to perform aerobic activity. Your heart and lungs have some level of involvement in every single bodily function you have. That's because your entire body requires a well-oxygenated blood supply to function effectively.

A strong heart and circulatory system allows your body to deliver the necessary fuel to all of the outposts in your body via your blood flow. Not only that, but a strong heart pumps more effectively, providing more blood to your body with each beat. Similarly, healthy lungs bring in oxygen and expel byproducts efficiently and effectively. Both are essential in avoiding heart disease and other cardiovascular and respiratory illnesses.

The importance of aerobics goes beyond your body's internal processes, however. If you are not aerobically fit, you're going to feel it as you go about your day. Maintaining aerobics fitness can help you to experience a better quality of life, because life's daily activities become that much easier when you can perform daily tasks - like walking up the stairs without getting winded or chasing down a toddler who saw his chance to make a break for it and took it.

Health Effects of Aerobic Activity

Those are just a few of the noticeable benefits of aerobic activity. Some are more subtle and can be counted by what doesn't happen or what it prevents.

  • Aerobic activity can lower the incidence of high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
  • It can increase the amount of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) - which is the good cholesterol that your body wants and uses.
  • It can decrease triglyceride levels.
  • It can help you lose, control or maintain your weight.
  • It can help to alleviate muscle pain and soreness.
  • Regular aerobic activity may be effective at lowering your risks of certain types of cancers.
  • Getting regular aerobic exercise increases bone density, which helps to prevent the loss in bone mineralization that leads to osteoporosis.
  • It strengthens your immune system.
  • Aerobic exercise can help prevent and control type 2 diabetes by decreasing your body's insulin requirements and controlling blood glucose.
  • It increases your energy levels.
  • Aerobic activity strengthens muscles, joints, ligaments and tendons.

What else can you do for a mere 20 minutes a day that will confer such amazing health benefits? With all of that going for it, it's easy to see why aerobic activity is such a vital part of your health, so get up and get moving.

Importance of Aerobics