Aerobics Exercise

Known as cardio is physical exercise of low to high intensity that depends primarily on the aerobic energy-generating process. “Aerobic” means “relating to, involving, or requiring free oxygen” and refers to the use of oxygen to adequately meet energy demands during exercise via aerobic metabolism. Generally, light-to-moderate intensity activities that are sufficiently supported by aerobic metabolism can be performed for extended periods of time. What is generally called aerobic exercise might be better termed “solely aerobic”, because it is designed to be low-intensity enough so that all carbohydrates are aerobically turned into energy. When practiced in this way, examples of cardiovascular or aerobic exercise are medium to long distance running or jogging, swimming, cycling, and walking. British physiologist, Archibald Hill introduced the concepts of maximal oxygen uptake and oxygen debt in 1922. German physician, Otto Meyerhof and Hill shared the 1922 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their independent work related to muscle energy metabolism. Building on this work, scientists began measuring oxygen consumption during exercise. Notable contributions were made by Henry Taylor at the University of Minnesota, Scandinavian scientists Per-Olof Åstrand and Bengt Saltin in the 1950s and 60s, the Harvard Fatigue Laboratory, German universities, and the Copenhagen Muscle Research Centre among others.

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After World War II, non-organized, individualistic, healthoriented physical and recreational activities, such as jogging, began to become popular. The Royal Canadian Air Force Exercise Plans, developed by Dr. Bill Orban and published in 1961, helped to launch modern fitness culture. There was a running boom in the 1970s, inspired by the Olympics. Physical therapist, Col. Pauline Potts and Dr. Kenneth Cooper, both of the United States Air Force, advocated the concept of aerobic exercise. In the 1960s, Cooper started research into preventive medicine. He conducted the first extensive research on aerobic exercise on over 5,000 U.S. Air Force personnel after becoming intrigued by the belief that exercise can preserve one’s health. Cooper published his ideas in a 1968 book titled, “Aerobics”. In 1970, he created his own institute (the Cooper Institute) for non-profit research and education devoted to preventive medicine and published a mass-market version of his book “The New Aerobics” in 1979. Cooper encouraged millions into becoming active and is now known as the “father of aerobics”.Aerobics developed as an exercise form in the 1970s and became popular worldwide in the 1980s after the release of Jane Fonda’s exercise videos in 1982

Aerobic exercise comprises innumerable forms. In general, it is performed at a moderate level of intensity over a relatively long period of time. For example, running a long distance at a moderate pace is an aerobic exercise, but sprinting is not. Playing singles tennis, with near-continuous motion, is generally considered aerobic activity, while golf or two person team tennis, with brief bursts of activity punctuated by more frequent breaks, may not be predominantly aerobic. Some sports are thus inherently “aerobic”, while other aerobic exercises, such as fartlek training or aerobic dance classes, are designed specifically to improve aerobic capacity and fitness. It is most common for aerobic exercises to involve the leg muscles, primarily or exclusively. There are some exceptions. For example, rowing to distances of 2,000 meters or more is an aerobic sport that exercises several major muscle groups, including those of the legs, abdominals, chest, and arms.

Cooper himself defines aerobic exercise as the ability to use the maximum amount of oxygen during exhaustive work. Cooper describes some of the major health benefits of aerobic exercise, such as gaining more efficient lungs by maximizing breathing capacity, thereby increasing ability to ventilate more air in a shorter period of time. As breathing capacity increases, one is able to extract oxygen more quickly into the blood stream, increasing elimination of carbon dioxide. With aerobic exercise the heart becomes more efficient at functioning, and blood volume, hemoglobin and red blood cells increase, enhancing the ability of the body to transport oxygen from the lungs into the blood and muscles. Metabolism will change and enable consumption of more calories without putting on weight. Aerobic exercise can delay osteoporosis as there is an increase in muscle mass, a loss of fat and an increase in bone density. With these variables increasing, there is a decrease in likelihood of diabetes as muscles use sugars better than fat. One of the major benefits of aerobic exercise is that body weight may decrease slowly; it will only decrease at a rapid pace if there is a calorie restriction, therefore reducing obesity rates.

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