Aerobic exercise strengthens the heart and will help keep you and it healthy. Any form of aerobic exercise where the heart is working and you are having to 'puff' is beneficial to the heart. It can take some time to improve your heart health, but some functions such as oxygen delivery will improve almost immediately. You'll be surprised how good a little aerobic exercise will make you feel!
When your heart becomes stronger, more oxygen can be circulated to your body with greater efficiency. This improved efficiency results in less work for the heart, and thus a slower heart rate. The most notable adaptations accompanying aerobic training include:
• An increase in heart size (your heart can grow by 20% in size!)
• An increase in blood volume
• A decrease in resting heart rate (a good resting heart rate is below 70bpm)
• An increase in cardiac output due primarily to increased stroke volume
• An increase in oxygen capacity (you can use more oxygen per minute)
• A reduction of blood pressure (excellent for heart disease risk)
• Improvement in body fat levels (great for your health)
So you can see aerobic fitness training has some excellent benefits for your heart and health. Now, how do we get started?!
Essentially and form of activity that gets your heart going and your lungs puffing is aerobic! Options range from walking, swimming, and social sports, to running, cycling, and competitive multisport events. The simple rule to remember is that you need to move! Aerobic training requires movement so get moving. You don't even need to make it a full on training session: simply walk more during the day, take the stairs not a lift, park your car a little further away and walk. All those little bits of extra aerobic activity add up and can make a good difference to your heart health.
Your best option is to visit your doctor and take a thorough health check. In addition, you may want to visit a fitness centre or personal trainer who can conduct a fitness assessment for you. See our article on VO2max testing for an idea on testing your aerobic fitness levels.
To find out more about fitness or aerobic training contact us!