Aerobic activity is any activity that requires oxygen to produce the necessary ATP (adenosine triphosphate) to carry out the activity. Aerobic activity acquires ATP through the Kreb’s Cycle. One time through the Kreb’s cycle produces 36 ATP’s compared to just 2 ATP through glycolysis or anaerobic cycle. Aerobic activity is essential for your cardiovascular health.
Aerobic activity achieves the following:
1. Raises your VO2 max (your maximal oxygen uptake). It does this by increasing the amount of oxygen your body is able to use during normal aerobic activities. If you’re out of shape and run a mile, you might run it in ten minutes or so, but if you have a regular aerobic routine (which could consist of jogging, walking, running, biking, or any cardiovascular activity), you can speed up running the mile by minutes because you’ll be breathing more efficiently.
2. Increases your red blood cells’ oxygen-carrying capacity. This is done by increasing the number of red blood cells. Red blood cells are needed in your body to carry oxygen in their hemoglobin. The more red blood cells you have, the faster oxygen is transported throughout your body.
3. Decreases your resting heart rate (RHR). Aerobic activity does this by increasing the muscle strength of your heart and by actually increasing the size of your heart. Lance Armstrong, Michael Phelps, and any other athlete that is in aerobic sports have huge hearts that pump a great amount of blood in no time. The heart is like every other muscle in your body: it responds to training by increasing in size and strength. Performing aerobic activities regularly can decrease your heart rate by up to 20 beats per minute; a normal heart rate ranges between 60-80 beats per minute. A reduction in beats per minute saves the heart from beating about ten million beats per year.
4. Increases the number of mitochondria. This needs to increase because it is the site for aerobic energy production. So as the number increase it gives the cells in your body potential to produce more energy for muscular work.
5. Increases the number of capillaries. Capillaries in your body are a place for exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide between blood and cells. The larger the blood vessels dilate, the more exchange of gases can take place. This increases the rate at which oxygen is delivered to the heart.
6. Lowers blood lipids and blood pressure. Regular aerobic activity leads to lower blood pressure which reduces the risk of strokes and heart attacks. It also reduces levels of fats and cholesterol in arteries. Fats and cholesterol are the culprits that clog arteries, leading to atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and coronary heart disease.
7. Faster recovery time and an increase in fat-burning enzymes. By training regularly, you help your body in recovering faster and staying healthier. You will be less likely to get sick and be healthier and feel good every day. You also increase fat-burning enzymes. By increasing lean muscle mass, that you get from doing aerobic activity, your body burns fat because you increase the number of enzymes so you burn more fat.
Aerobic activity is easy to do just about anywhere, running, jogging, biking, and walking are not your only options. You can increase your activity by just changing little lifestyle habits. You can park farther out in the parking lot, take the stairs instead of the elevator, or even bike to work if close enough. Doing yard work can also be considered aerobic activity, like mowing, raking, or just any household chore you do for a while. As you can see, there are many benefits for changing your lifestyle; you’ll live longer and feel better each and every day.
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