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Aerobic Exercise Fitness And Health
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Aerobic exercise is essential to physical fitness and health. Without aerobics fitness is impossible. It may come in different forms such as jogging or swimming or biking. A person who takes a long walk to work or who walks on his job may not even be aware that he is conditioning himself aerobically, but whether he is conscious of it or not, this kind of exercise is essential to his fitness.

So what is aerobic exercise? It is all about the kind of health activity that increases the level of oxygen in your body. It is different from other kinds of exercise like weight lifting or push-ups. Weight lifting, for example, builds muscle in targeted areas of the body. That kind of exercise has its place, and there is certainly nothing wrong with it, but it normally does not last long enough to condition the body to increase its intake and assimilation of oxygen.

Before I give the say more about aerobics, let me share a little bit about myself. As a child I was a couch potato, sitting in front of the television almost all day. I never excelled in sports, and in high school I was quickly exhausted by activities which were normal for most of my other classmates.

Today I am 52 years old and I'm enjoying many of the health benefits of aerobic exercise since I changed my life style. I’m doing lots of things that I was not capable of doing when I was a teenager or in my early twenties. Normally run 5 miles or more three times a week. For a while I was running 10 miles twice a week but had to cut back because I just didn’t have enough time for all that exercise when I started to run my own business. Normally I get about 6 hours of sleep a night, and at the moment I don’t feel the least bit sleepy. It’s the beginning of February now, and I haven’t gotten sick once all winter.

Meanwhile, a friend who went to high school with me has let his health fall apart. I couldn’t hold a candle to him when we were in school together. He excelled in hockey, basketball, track and in just about every other sport. He went to college, got a job, got married and raised a beautiful family, but he gets almost no exercise at all now and is very overweight.

So how does aerobic exercise work to maintain health? It’s because of the amazing way God designed our bodies to adapt to what is being required of them. If a person’s activity isn’t much more than to open a desk drawer, all the systems in his body degrade. Tissue and tone are lost because they aren’t needed. But when a person exerts his body, even slightly, but over a prolonged, sustained period of time, every system in the body works harder, and they adapt by adding new tissue and improving tone. Just 20 minutes daily of sustained activity can make a big difference in health and fitness.

After the 20 minutes of aerobic exercise is finished, the fitness benefits remain. Normal daily activities seem easier because the system is stronger. Lung capacity is greater and can assimilate much more oxygen into the body. The heart which has adapted to exert itself for 20 minutes can now pump much more blood through the system with much less effort. Blood vessels are wider, and the body has even produced more blood vessels. Blood volume in the body has also increased so that it can carry much more oxygen to every other system in the body. The brain even works better, and the mind is clearer because it is receiving much more oxygen.

Aerobic exercise is not the answer to every health problem of humanity. It does help against many illnesses, especially those related to cardiovascular disease, but there are other diseases, like cancer, for instance, which afflict even the most fit of athletes. A person who has been inactive for many years should begin aerobic exercise gradually. Don’t expect to run in the Boston Marathon after your first month of training. It would be wise to consult a doctor about any fitness program. But the first thing to do is to turn around and change direction. Stop doing nothing and start doing something. A little bit of aerobic exercise is much better than none at all.

I grew up in central New York but attended high school and Bible college in Canada. I worked as a missionary in Latin America for about 19 years. Today I'm back living in New York and running my own landscaping business. I play organ, accordion, and piano.


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