Cardio respiratory fitness can be measured using VO2 max, a measure of the amount of oxygen the body can uptake and utilize. Aerobic exercise, which improves cardiorespiratory fitness, involves movement that increases the heart rate to improve the body’s oxygen consumption. This form of exercise is an important part of all training regiments ranging from professional athletes to the everyday person. Also, it helps increase stamina.

What aerobic exercise does for your health?

Regardless of age, weight or athletic ability, aerobic activity is good for you. As your body adapts to regular aerobic exercise, you’ll get stronger and fitter.

Consider the following 10 ways that aerobic activity can help you feel better and enjoy life to the fullest.

Aerobic activity can help you:

  • Keep excess pounds at bay
    Combined with a healthy diet, aerobic exercise helps you lose weight and keep it off.
  • Increase your stamina
    You may feel tired when you first start regular aerobic exercise. But over the long term, you’ll enjoy increased stamina and reduced fatigue.
  • Ward off viral illnesses
    Aerobic exercise activates your immune system in a good way. This may leave you less susceptible to minor viral illnesses, such as colds and flu.
  • Reduce your health risks
    Aerobic exercise reduces the risk of many conditions, including obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) OR Polycystic ovarian disease (PCOD), type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, stroke and certain types of cancer. Weight-bearing aerobic exercises, such as walking, help decrease the risk of osteoporosis.
  • Manage chronic conditions
    Aerobic exercise may help lower blood pressure and control blood sugar. If you have coronary artery disease, aerobic exercise may help you manage your condition. Regular exercise releases the endorphins, the natural pain killers of the body, which among other things reduces stress, anxiety and depression.
  • Strengthen your heart
    A stronger heart doesn’t need to beat as fast. A stronger heart also pumps blood more efficiently, which improves blood flow to all parts of your body.
  • Keep your arteries clear
    Aerobic exercise boosts your high-density lipoprotein (HDL), the “good,” cholesterol, and lowers your low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the “bad,” cholesterol. This may result in less buildup of plaques in your arteries.
  • Boost your mood. Aerobic exercise may ease the gloominess of depression, reduce the tension associated with anxiety and promote relaxation.
  • Stay active and independent as you age
    Aerobic exercise keeps your muscles strong, which can help you maintain mobility as you get older. Aerobic exercise also keeps your mind sharp. Studies have found that regular physical activity may help protect memory, reasoning, judgment and thinking skills (cognitive function) in older adults, and may improve cognitive function in young adults. Some studies suggest that it can even help prevent the onset of dementia.
  • Live longer
    Studies show that people who participate in regular aerobic exercise live longer than those who don’t exercise regularly.

Take the first step

Ready to get more active? Great. Just remember to start with small steps. If you’ve been inactive for a long time or if you have a chronic health condition, get your doctor’s OK before you start.

When you’re ready to begin exercising, start slowly. You might dance 10 minutes in the morning or 10 minutes in the evening.

The next day, add a few minutes to each dancing session. Pick up the pace a bit, too. Soon, you could be dancing briskly for at least 30 minutes a day and reaping all the benefits of regular aerobic activity.