Tuning Up the Body
TUNING UP THE BODY
If you want to become a better pianist, keep playing the piano. If you want to become a better writer, keep writing. Likewise, if you want to increase your cardio-respiratory endurance, keep working out. The more you used your body, the more endurance you build up.
Aerobic workout increases your endurance. This means the capacity of your heart, lungs, and blood vessels to send more oxygen to working muscles during vigorous activities increases.
Aerobic activity involves continuous exertion of the large muscle groups. This is achieved through brisk walking, jogging, running, bicycling, and mountain-climbing, tai chi, hatha yoga, swimming, cross-country-skiing, climbing, martial arts, ball games, rowing, jumping rope, stair-climbing, aerobic dancing, and doing step aerobics. Practically, any activity is aerobic as long as it raises your heart rate substantially and makes you sweat.
How much aerobic activity do you really need? The American Heart Association advise us to burn 700 to 2,000 calories through exercise per week. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends being aerobically active three to five times a week for at least 20 minutes per session.
Does intensity matters? For fitness, it certainly appears so. Consider this study focused on 102 sedentary women between the age of 20 and 40. Each participant is randomly placed in one of four groups.
One groups remained inactive whereas the other three walked three miles, five times a week.
One of the other group, walked slowly, doing 20 minutes per mile. Another group walks a little faster at 15 minutes per mile.
The third group walks the latest of 12 minutes per mile. Six months later, the four groups were re-evaluated.
The inactive group’s fitness levels decreased slightly. In the other three groups, it was found that the faster they walked, the higher was their cardio-respiratory fitness.
What exactly do you get from aerobic activity? Aerobic endurance means improving your health and slowing down the aging process. Aerobically fit people reduce their risk of heart diseases, hypertension and diabetes. It may even help you live longer, according to Harvard University studies. Researchers discovered that formerly sedentary, middle-aged men who began to exercise moderately for at least 30 minutes, three times a week, lived an average of 10 months longer than those who did not
A better, peaceful state of mind is another benefit of aerobic activity. Sustained, vigorous aerobic exercise activates the release of endorphins, - hormone-like compounds that lift the spirits and quell anxiety.
Dwindling aerobic endurance often accompanies aging. After we turn 30, the heart’s ability to pump blood decreases, blood pressure tends to rise and circulation slows down. As strength declines, so does the amount of oxygen the body can use. However, these losses may be due to disuse more than aging.
Studies made on colleges students reveals that three weeks of bed rest temporarily aged them way before their time. After the ordeal, the young students were unable to engage in strenuous activities and lost significant efficiency in their heart, lungs, muscles and circulation.
Just as inactivity can age us, building aerobic endurance can slow down the clock. This is backed by researchers, demonstrating the case of a group of sedentary, middle aged adults who started swimming or running regularly for 10 years. After a decade, their hearts and lungs showed no signs of aging and their weight and blood pressure went down.
In the words of one gerontologist, “Exercise is the closest thing to an anti aging pill.”
So, get your gear ready and get your body tuned up.