(MayoClinic.com) Regular aerobic activity — such as walking, bicycling or swimming — can help you live longer and healthier. Need motivation? See how aerobic exercise affects your heart, lungs and blood flow. Then get moving and start reaping the rewards.
During aerobic activity, you repeatedly move large muscles in your arms, legs and hips. You'll notice your body's responses quickly.
You'll breathe faster and more deeply. This maximizes the amount of oxygen in your blood. Your heart will beat faster, which increases blood flow to your muscles and back to your lungs. Your small blood vessels (capillaries) will widen to deliver more oxygen to your muscles and carry away waste products, such as carbon dioxide and lactic acid. Your body will even release endorphins, natural painkillers that promote an increased sense of well-being.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:
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 walk five minutes in the morning and five minutes in the evening. The next day, add a few minutes to each walking session. Pick up the pace a bit, too. Soon, you could be walking briskly for at least 30 minutes a day — and reaping all the benefits of regular aerobic activity.
Other options might include cross-country skiing, aerobic dancing, swimming, stair climbing, bicycling, jogging, elliptical training or rowing. If you have a condition that limits your ability to participate in aerobic activities, ask your doctor about alternatives. If you have arthritis, for example, aquatic exercises may give you the benefits of aerobic activity without stressing your joints.
|Most Viewed||Most Emailed|
Want to know more about this article or other health related issues? Ask your question and we'll post some each week for CNN.com reader to discuss or for our experts to weight in.