Cardiovascular or Aerobic Training Primary Purpose
The No. 1 benefit of following an aerobic exercise plan is the change in your cardiovascular fitness that results from this kind of training regimen. Cardiovascular or Aerobic Training is aimed at improving your heart muscle and cardiovascular system. Your heart is a muscle. Like any muscle, it becomes stronger with exercise and can pump blood more efficiently. Regular aerobic exercise causes your lungs to process more oxygen with less effort; your heart to pump more blood with fewer beats; and the blood supply directed to your muscles to increase. As a result, by performing cardiovascular exercises, you are increasing your body's endurance and efficiency. At the same time, exercise also improves the performance of the muscles in the rest of your body.
Research shows that the specific benefits of regular low impact aerobic exercise includes:
- Strengthens your heart
- Lowers risk of heart disease (including but not limited to heart attack, arteriosclerosis, arthrosclerosis, Ischemic cardiomyopathy,Hypertensive cardiomyopathy, Inflammatory heart disease, etc.).
- Reduces cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol. Exercise is an important factor in preventing cardiovascular disease. Frequent exercise leads to the physiological remodeling (change) and hypertrophy (beneficial enlargement) of the heart. This type of hypertrophy is different from pathological hypertrophy (an abnormal enlargement that leads to problems such as heart failure).
- Disease reduction. Extra weight is a contributing factor to conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, Type 2 diabetes (adult-onset diabetes) and some forms of cancer. As you lose weight, your risk of developing these diseases decreases.
- Relieves or decreases the symptoms of angina.
- Stops or reverses the build-up of blockages in the vessels that supply blood to the heart.
- Helps control blood sugar.
- Helps reduce the risk of developing insulin sensitivity and Type 2 diabetes.
- Can help keep you fit if you have arthritis, without putting excessive stress on your joints.
- Strengthens heart and lungs.
- Increased stamina/endurance. Exercise may make you tired in the short term, i.e., during and right after the activity, but over the long term it will increase your stamina and reduce fatigue.
- Improves the ability of muscles to use fats during exercise, preserving intramuscular glycogen.
- Increases the total number of red blood cells in the body, facilitating transport of oxygen.
- Improves circulation efficiency and reducing blood pressure.
- Increases bone density. Lowers risk of osteoporosis.
- Promotes weight loss through calories burning and increased metabolism.
- Helps maintain a healthy weight.
- Reduces body fat.
- Increases your metabolic rate. The metabolic activity of an individual is heightened for several hours following a bout of aerobic activity.
- Improves immune system. People who exercise regularly are less susceptible to minor viral illnesses such as colds and flu. It is possible that aerobic exercise helps activate your immune system and prepares it to fight off infection.
- Improved muscle health. Aerobic exercise stimulates the growth of tiny blood vessels (capillaries) in your muscles. This helps your body more efficiently deliver oxygen to your muscles and remove from them irritating metabolic waste products such as lactic acid.
- Tone muscles throughout the body.
- Enhances the speed at which muscles recover from high intensity exercise.
- Helps prevent osteoporosis (gradual loss of bone mass/strength).
- Improves mobility and strength in later life.
- Reduces stress. Regular aerobic exercise releases endorphins, your body's natural painkillers. Endorphins also reduce stress, depression and anxiety.
- Improves sleep patterns.
- Increaseslife span. Several studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine, scientifically linked exercise with increased life spans for the first time. A famous study looked at 17,000 male alumni of Harvard University between the ages of 35 and 74. Results show that the physical activities of the men increased, their death rate decreased. Men who spend at least 2,000 kilocalories per week doing moderate exercises such as tennis, swimming, jogging or brisk walking lowered their overall death rate by 25-33% and decreased their risk of coronary artery disease by an astounding 41% when compared to the more inactive fellow alumni.
- Improves quality of life. Less chronic muscle pain, less stiffness and greater mobility are all benefits of exercising.
Which Type of Cardio Should I Do?
Cardiovascular training, no matter what the exercise, is categorized based on duration and intensity. When you are choosing which type of cardio to do, keep your goals in mind.
Regardless of what cardiovascular activities that you do, the following guidelines should form guide you on what form of exercise to do.
- Does the cardiovascular exercise offer a sustained repetitive movement using large muscle groups such as your legs?
- Does your activity allow you to continually be active for 30-45 minutes?
- Are you able to maintain an intensity of 60-80% of your maximum heart rate?
- Can you continue to pursue this activity 3-5 days a week in order to obtain significant benefits?
If your goal is to improve your general cardiovascular fitness, do moderate intensity work where you are starting to breathe deeply and you can feel that you are working.
If your goal is fat loss but you're in poor shape, do low intensity, long duration work such as walking.
If you want fat loss and you're in reasonably good cardiovascular shape, do the type that burns the most calories, i.e. high-intensity training (greater than 70% of your target heart rate).
Expensive Gyms Not Required
Cardiovascular training or aerobic training may be accomplished in several ways where you don't need to spend any money or belong to an expensive gym. Walking, jogging, skipping rope, boxing, dancing, riding a bike - any of these qualify as aerobic exercise
Modern health clubs provide a variety of machines to perform cardio. You now have the choice of exercising in air-conditioned comfort, away from any distractions, using scientifically designed machines that reduce impact on your joints. Also, interactions with other members, and encouragement from fitness trainers can make a big difference. For example, a stepper or stair climber simulates stair climbing. Stationary bicycles simulate cycling. Treadmill is a machine that simulates walking. Many health clubs also offer other specialized devices like elliptical trainers and rowing machines.
The answer to this will depend on your goals. If you lead a fairly inactive or sedentary life, any increase in aerobic activity is good for you. Typically for most people, in order to gain the benefits of cardiovascular training, one must do this sustained activity of the large muscle groups for a minimum of twenty to thirty minutes at least three times per week.
Studies show that a brisk walk for even one to two hours a week (30 minutes a day) reduces your risk of having a heart attack or stroke, developing diabetes, or premature death. The U.S. Surgeon General, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American College of Sports Medicine, recommend getting a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most days of the week. consistent in your cardiovascular program, chances are you will feel better, have more energy and a better outlook in life. This may take a few weeks, but it will come. You will realize that your daily tasks have become easier and that the activities and sports you enjoy will not only become easier but also become more enjoyable. Your friends will notice the significant change in you after you have been consistently on the program. Anti-aging is a life-long process and that does not yield immediate results. Many of the benefits will only be apparent years later.
Cardiovascular exercises benefit any age group. The benefits are many, raging from improved health and well being, to anti-aging properties and improved longevity. However, any exercise of aerobic capacity should be structured properly, with physician guidance and should be scaled moderately to fit the particular needs and health of each person.