Consider how you can feel breathless when going up a flight of stairs quickly—your body is showing the need for oxygen. “Aerobic” means “with oxygen,” and aerobic fitness, otherwise referred to as cardiorespiratory endurance, pertains to how well your body is able to take in oxygen and put that oxygen to use. Activities that involve large-muscle groups engaged in dynamic movement for prolonged periods of time are considered aerobic. Your cardiovascular system (heart and blood vessels) and your respiratory system (lungs and air passages) work together during longer-duration activities to supply working muscles and organs with the oxygen they need. Examples of aerobic activities include walking, jogging, running, cycling, swimming, dancing, hiking, and team sports such as basketball and soccer. Also check out: What is Cardio.
Health and Fitness Benefits of Aerobic Exercise
Regular and consistent aerobic activity improves your cardio-respiratory endurance. In other words, your heart, blood vessels, and lungs benefit from working harder than normal. Exercise improves your cardio-respiratory function by increasing the activity of these organ systems above what they experience at rest. Over time, your body adapts to these stresses and your fitness improves. Know whether you should hire a fitness specialist or not.
Cardio-respiratory endurance is an important aspect of health for a number of reasons:
- Better cardio-respiratory endurance typically leads to higher levels of routine physical activity as you go about your day-to-day life. This in turn provides additional health benefits.
- Low levels of cardio-respiratory fitness are associated with higher risk of premature death from all causes, and specifically from cardiovascular disease. To look at this from a more positive perspective, increases in cardio-respiratory fitness are associated with a decreased risk of death from all causes.
- Aerobic fitness is an important foundation that allows you to engage in activities of daily living with greater ease.
- Increases in cardio-respiratory endurance allow you to more fully participate in recreational and sport activities.
- Aerobic activities that promote cardio-respiratory endurance also burn a relatively large number of calories and thus help to maintain appropriate body weight. This is not an exhaustive list but does demonstrate the wide-ranging benefits of aerobic exercise for health as well as fitness.