Aerobic Fitness: Make It the Focus of Your Weekly Exercise Plan

Aerobic exercises and activities will improve the quality of your life—and may even extend it by focusing on wellness. Here, we offer the basics of aerobic fitness.

aerobic fitness

Step up your workout with an aerobic fitness plan. Variety helps keep it fresh; you can get aerobic exercise via swimming or cycling, dancing or water exercises, or aerobic workouts in front of your TV or with a class.

© Iakov Filimonov |

Aerobic fitness is a life-changing gift you can give yourself—one that affects every system of your body. The word “aerobic” means needing oxygen for activity; aerobic exercise provides that oxygen.

If you’re already exercising at a steady pace but ready to pick it up, aerobic exercises and activities may be your next step. They’re proven to better the quality of your life and may even add extra years.

Best thing about an aerobic fitness program: You can take total control of your workout routine. You can exercise alone, with a workout buddy, or with a group at little or no cost. You can go at your own pace, challenging yourself as time goes on, or work with a trainer. You can choose from a wide variety of activities, from walking (slow at first, working up to a brisk “power walk” pace), jogging, hiking, or cycling to aerobic classes, swimming, or water exercises, to dancing with a group working out at home.

Fitness Basics

Why is physical fitness important? The benefits of aerobics as part of your weekly exercise plan go far beyond cardiovascular health; they help you in terms of weight control, mobility, blood sugar levels, emotional health, and prevention or control of diseases.

Aerobic fitness is also called cardiovascular fitness, which is measured by two things:

  1. The amount of oxygen in blood that is pumped by the heart to the body
  2. How efficient the body is in using that oxygen

The way to improve aerobic fitness is through large-muscle physical activities that are demanding enough, last long enough, and are performed often enough to strengthen the heart, improve the vascular system, and increase lung capacity.

Aerobic Fitness: So Many Benefits….

No other component of fitness, whether it’s strength, power, flexibility, balance, or mobility, brings with it so many added benefits. Exercising to become more aerobically fit makes the heart stronger, allowing it to pump more blood with each beat. The more blood pumped, the better the supply of oxygen to the rest of the body, including the heart. As a bonus, fewer beats are needed. Over time, the chamber of the heart doing the pumping (the left ventricle) adapts, gets bigger, holds more blood, and ejects more blood per beat.

A stronger heart is like having a stronger engine that can deliver oxygen with greater ease. And like any other machine, the easier the workload on the heart, the longer it lasts.

Aerobic exercise also stimulates the growth of new blood vessels that supply oxygen to muscles. The result is more efficient circulation. While cardiovascular exercise increases the number of blood vessels, strength training, also called resistance training, makes them bigger.

Originally posted in 2016 and updated.

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Diane Muhlfeld

Editor/writer Diane Muhlfeld joined Belvoir Media Group in 1996. Since 2002, she has focused on the company's growing health publishing division, which comprises 11 institution-affiliated newsletters and 24 annual Special … Read More

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  • Aerobic exercises employ large muscle groups that lead to weight loss. Aerobic means your body’s ability to use oxygen and caters to the energy requirement, especially during high activity levels, such as exercising.
    Aerobic exercises give you quick results keeping your heartbeat high. They are pretty easy to follow and apply and what’s more, you can do without equipment. This kind of exercises has several benefits such as it increases energy, boosts blood circulation, reduces body fat, initiates weight loss, minimizes tension and anxiety, helps prevent type 2 diabetes, improves endurance levels and helps in building a strong and fit body.
    These days you are really short on time and don’t have enough time, then aerobics is just what you need. And since you do not need any fancy equipment it hardly creates a dent in your pocket. Regular aerobic exercise helps you stay slim and svelte. It also helps keep the fat off for good.

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