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Aerobic literally means "with oxygen", and refers to the use of oxygen in muscles' energy-generating process.
Aerobic exercise includes any type of exercise, typically those performed at moderate levels of intensity for extended periods of time, that maintains an increased heart rate.
In such exercise, oxygen is used to "burn" fats and glucose in order to produce adenosine triphosphate, the basic energy carrier for all cells.
Initially during aerobic exercise, glycogen is broken down to produce glucose, but in its absence, fat metabolism is initiated instead.
Aerobic exercise: Top 10 reasons to get physical
Regardless of age, weight or athletic ability, aerobic exercise is good for you. See why — then prepare yourself to get moving.
If you want to lose belly fat, the most damaging to your health, you will be more successful if you do aerobic exercise than resistant training, researchers from Duke University Medical Center reported in the American Journal of Physiology.
There is no one best exercise for everyone. The benefits to your heart are similar as long as the type of exercise satisfies some basic requirements and you follow the recommended program goals, as prescribed by your doctor or exercise physiologist.
Your aerobic exercise program should have four goals:
It is aerobic. It uses large muscle groups repetitively for a sustained amount of time
You perform it for 30 to 60 minutes, three to five days a week
It meets the cardiovascular goals your doctor or exercise physiologist has prescribed for you
It is something you will enjoy doing for an extended period of time
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The type of exercise you choose is a personal decision, but you should take certain factors into consideration to reduce the risk of injury or complications and make exercise more enjoyable.
Always speak to your doctor first before starting any new exercise program
Chose a type of exercise you are more likely to stay with over the long-term
Perform your activity at a level in which you can carry on a conversation or speak clearly while exercising. This "talk test" provides a general rule of thumb to help you determine if a particular activity is too strenuous for you. It is especially helpful if you have not been given a "heart rate (pulse) zone" to stay in during exercise.