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Aerobic conditioning involves an individual participating in an activity that increases his or her breathing and heart rate over a prolonged amount of time. This type of conditioning involves moving muscles in the limbs and hips and both helps to burn calories and enhances cardiovascular fitness. Aerobics may help a person live a longer and healthier life as it also has a positive effect on a person’s lungs and flow of blood. In addition, aerobic exercise helps to create energy for physical activity. Types of aerobic conditioning activities include running, cross-country skiing, swimming, and bicycling.
During aerobic exercise, a physiological process occurs. A person inhales into his or her lungs and the air is then absorbed into the blood. After the oxygen is pumped out of the heart, the oxygen is then sent to the muscles. While the blood is supplying oxygen to the muscles, the waste product carbon dioxide is being removed.
The blood then becomes filled with carbon dioxide and is pumped into a person’s lungs, which release the carbon dioxide into the air as the person breathes out during aerobic activity. More oxygen is absorbed from the air and the process is repeated. During the process, the body naturally releases chemicals called endorphins, which enhance mood.
A person can get the most out of aerobic conditioning by reaching his or her target heart rate. A person’s maximum heart rate is 220 minus his or her age; he or she achieves best aerobic conditioning at between 60 and 80 percent of that number. Typically an individual should get in at least a half-hour of aerobic conditioning at least three times a week while maintaining his or her target heart rate. As a person's conditioning improves, his or her body adjusts, and the person will have to exert more effort to maintain the target heart rate.
By engaging in aerobic conditioning, a person can feel stronger and healthier, and may feel less stressed. A combination of aerobics and maintaining a healthy diet can help to shed unwanted pounds and keep them off. Aerobic conditioning also enhances a person’s immune system and makes an individual less likely to suffer diseases and health conditions like Type 2 diabetes, cancer, and stroke.
Aerobic exercise aids in pumping more blood through a person’s veins. This makes the size of a person’s arteries bigger, which can aid in preventing blood clots. Also, frequent aerobic exercise can enhance high-density lipoprotein, also known as good cholesterol.