Aerobics, pronounced air OH bihks, is a system of exercises designed to promote the supply and use of oxygen in the body. These exercises include bicycling, dancing, jogging, rowing, skating, swimming, and fast walking. Aerobics is usually performed to music and may be practiced in a group setting led by an instructor at an inner building (community centers, church, home, etc.), but Aerobics can also be done solo, outside, and without the support of music playing in the background. Many people participate in aerobics programs to increase their endurance and energy and to achieve and maintain their proper weight. Regular aerobic exercise may also help lessen the risk of heart disease.
A regular, vigorous program of aerobic exercises helps the body process large amounts of oxygen efficiently. The presence of oxygen in the muscle cells is necessary for the formation of a compound called adenosine triphosphate (ATP). The breakdown of ATP produces the energy for all muscular activity. During vigorous activity, more oxygen is inhaled and passes from the lungs into the blood. More oxygen-rich blood is delivered to the muscles, creating more ATP. This increased amount of ATP produces more energy for the body. If the circulatory system cannot supply enough oxygen to the muscles or if the muscles cannot use oxygen efficiently, the body produces a smaller amount of ATP. This results in early fatigue.
For maximum effectiveness, individuals should perform aerobic exercises continuously for 15 minutes to an hour 3 to 5 times a week. Men and women over the age of 35 should get a medical examination before beginning an aerobics program.
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