15. Value of Aerobic Exercise
Everything inside your body is moving. Your heart pumps, blood flows, lungs expand and contract, eyes roll, eardrums vibrate, atoms dance, and neurons fire. As a result, you walk, reach out and touch the world around you, stretch yourself, and you dance. Movement is a sign of life. Seriously inhibit the movement of limbs and organs, and you encourage illness. Stop motion altogether and you are dead. Allow yourself to move as fully as possible both within and without, and you realize wellness.
Since the Industrial Revolution, life has changed dramatically. Most people no longer chop wood and carry water. Earning a livelihood generally involves sitting for long hours at a computer terminal or in an automobile, or standing behind a counter or at an assembly line. With rare exception, people’s requirements to move vigorously are few. Cars, buses, trains, planes, telephones, computers, overnight parcels, and fax machines do it for them.
The labor of the human body is rapidly being engineered out of working life. —John F. Kennedy
Is the United States leading the Western world into an international culture of overweight couch potatoes? Statistics indicate that the average eighth grader in the United States can’t pass a minimal fitness test, and many people think nothing about driving their car to a destination a few blocks away instead of walking. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in most developed countries, and lack of exercise is one of its primary risk factors.
Without exercise at all, as happens when you are confined to bed, the muscles lose 15 percent of their strength for every week of inactivity. So if you lead a sedentary life, chances are that your muscles are weak and therefore more injury prone. But the good news is that this strength can be regained, and the heart can be reconditioned. The body is amazingly resilient. Even years of neglect can be compensated for by a regular program of aerobic physical exercise.
Benefits of Aerobic Exercise
Target Heart Rates
Design a Personal Aerobic Exercise Program
Two Simple, Effective Exercises