Fitness Tip

Understanding Aerobic Exercise


The value of aerobic exercise is endless.  It is the key to improving oneís overall level-of-fitness.  Aerobic exercise increases cardiovascular fitness, which in turn increases total metabolism.  Cardiovascular fitness refers to the ability of the heart, lungs, and arteries to deliver oxygen (which is carried in the blood) to working  muscles, and the musclesí ability to use that oxygen to perform work, over a particular period of time.  Increasing oneís level of cardiovascular fitness, means increasing the rate at which the body burns calories.

Working in the Cardio Zone is important for increasing cardiovascular and cardio-respiratory fitness.  When the body is challenged to work harder and longer in this Zone, it sends a message to the brain to supply more oxygen to get the work done.  The bodyís elevated need for oxygen triggers higher breathing rates and an increased heart rate.  The body is forced to develop a greater ability to utilize the increased oxygen output.  Utilizing oxygen is the job of aerobic enzymes.  As the demand for more oxygen increases, the demand for more aerobic enzymes to handle that oxygen increases. Increasing aerobic enzymes is a gradual process.  Thatís why it takes time to build up the ability to work in the Cardio Zone for a longer period of time.  Consistently sending the message for more oxygen, ultimately strengthens the heart and lungs.  The more intense the aerobic exercise becomes, the more aerobic enzymes will be available in the muscles, resulting in greater cardiovascular fitness, higher overall metabolism, and a reduction in body fat.

Because itís impossible sustain a high level of aerobic intensity forever, it becomes necessary to slow intensity down. Itís important to continue the aerobic activity at a lower level of intensity, in the Fat Burn Zone. When this is done, the body recruits different muscle fibers to continue the work.  These fibers use stored fat as an energy burning source, and metabolism continues at full throttle.  The beauty of doing a complete aerobic workout ( cardio zone and fat burn zone) is the amount of after-burn the body experiences, when the workout is complete.