Why Aerobic Fitness is So Important for Optimum Health
Being fit and healthy is a goal many of us strive for and we understand that it is important for our health. But how many of us really know why being fit is so important for our health or how fit we need to be?
What is Fitness?
Before we look at why fitness is important we should first look at what fitness is. Fitness in general terms, is best described as the ability to perform all your daily activities with relative ease and to have enough energy in reserve to handle an emergency situation. That means that ideally you should be fit enough to get through the day, complete all the tasks you need to complete and still have some energy left at the end (so that you don’t fall onto the couch at 6pm completely exhausted). If this explanation seems vague, it is because fitness is a relative concept that runs along a very long continuum. At one end of the continuum are those who have very little fitness or are bed-ridden and at the other end are professional athletes who are incredibly fit. Most of us fall somewhere in the middle and are grateful not to fall into bed each night.
When most of us think about being fit, images of athletes or running long distances tend to enter our minds. If you consider the explanation above, you can see how fitness is less about being able to exercise and more about your ability to complete daily tasks. Many people find it difficult to physically get through the day and if you are one of them then perhaps it is time to change your perception of fitness and being fit. Rather than focusing on becoming fit, try focusing on being active and the benefits regular aerobic activity can have on your health.
Health Benefits of Regular Aerobic Exercise
Participating in regular aerobic exercise is important to your health. With all the technology around to make our lives easier, it is easy to forget that our bodies are designed to move. In times gone by, our daily lives were full of exercise and fitness and was less about running a race or swimming laps and more about working outside.
The old saying ‘use it or lose it’ is particularly important these days. In order for our muscles and bones to stay strong, and our bodies to stay healthy, we need to perform some sort of aerobic exercise each day. The current physical activity guidelines recommend that adults enjoy some aerobic exercise for a minimum of 30 minutes most days of the week but every day is best. This can be any exercise that raises your heart rate and breathing such as walking, jogging, swimming, rowing, skating, cycling, and dancing (just to name a few).
Some of the benefits that come from enjoying regular aerobic exercise include:
- A reduced risk of developing lifestyle diseases such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure
- Better control over lifestyle diseases including the ability to reduce the type and amount of medication you use
- Reduced stress levels
- Reduced feelings of depression
- More energy
- Improved sleep patterns
- Improved self-esteem and body image
- Stronger bones and muscles
- Improved lung capacity
Swap ‘Fit’ for ‘Active’
If you want to get fit but find it a struggle, a better approach is to change your thinking and swap being fit for being active. The above list shows that regular exercise is very beneficial to our health, especially if you have a medical condition. Rather than thinking about how fit you need to be, start thinking of ways to become more active each day. Simple things such as walking instead of taking the car, getting off the train or bus one stop early, and taking the stairs instead of the lift are all great ways to increase your daily activity levels and increase the benefits to your health. Our mind is a powerful tool and if you swap an activity that your brain considers ‘negative’ for one your brain considers ‘positive’, you will be amazed at how much easier it is to find time to participate in the activity and how much more you enjoy it.
Optimum health takes some work but by participating in regular aerobic exercise you can and will experience many of the benefits listed above. Regular exercise keeps us strong, fit and healthy and allows us to perform our daily tasks with ease and enjoy life. Focus on the many ways exercise will improve your health, find an activity you enjoy and exercise will never feel like a chore again.
To find out more about how to kick off a good aerobic exercise plan or to just get some ideas why don’t you have have a chat to one of our friendly trainers or staff in the club. Check out some out some excellent Government resources with the Swap-it program which has some practical and helpful tips on how to make aerobic exercise fun step up your aerobic activity and fitness (http://swapit.gov.au/).