What is aerobic exercise?

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Aerobic exercise refers to a type of exercise that ensures the continuous supply of oxygen to various muscles of the body as every effort is exerted.  This type of exercise is typically low in intensity but is done for long periods of time.  While the muscles are activated during the exercise, the heart is also hard at work in providing the oxygen supply for an extended period of time. With lower intensity exercise, muscles will be trained for more endurance rather than strength.

Walking and running are basic examples of endurance exercises.  In these exercises, the muscles will be conditioned to work for longer periods of time as the heart muscles are also working hard for better function.  Under minimal to medium intensity, people may need to get to about 70-80% of their maximum heart rate in order for their aerobic workout to be effective.  In the end, aerobic exercises not only help the muscles of the body become more effective in long-duration activities but also the heart muscles will also become healthier in terms of its pumping action.  With this benefit, aerobic exercises are also referred to as cardiovascular exercises.  Muscles for breathing or respiration are also involved when somebody engages in aerobic exercises.  With more aerobic training, athletes will also be breathing more efficiently resulting to healthier lung muscles.

The opposite of aerobic exercise is called anaerobic exercise and is geared towards short bursts of energy or for strength build-up.  In the case of a 100m dash athlete for example, his/her muscles need to be trained with anaerobic activity in order to provide enough strength and power to last for seconds or a few minutes only.  Aerobic exercises meanwhile also develop strength in the muscles but generate more endurance as these exercises help muscles work more efficiently for longer periods of time.  With the help of oxygen, the muscles will be able to last for long and perform endurance-based activities.

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