|Getting the cardio in can keep the years off|
Aerobic capacity, (the ability to breathe deeply and utilize oxygen), declines as people age. Regular, vigorous, aerobic activity or exercise can substantially delay such declines according to one expert, Dr. R. J. Shephard, from the University of Toronto in Ontario. Dr. Shephard has been studying the effects of aerobic exercise for twenty five years.
The American College of Sports Medicine, defines aerobic exercise as "any activity that uses large muscle groups, can be maintained continuously, and is rhythmic in nature." Such exercises target the heart and lungs, causing them to work harder than they would during rest or normal activity. To be effective, the heart rate must increase for a sustained period of time, (20 – 40 minutes is ideal). To yield results, aerobic exercise should be done on a regular basis - three to four times per week. The objective is to get up and move. Brisk walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, rowing, circuit training, and dancing are all forms of aerobic exercise. Shephard cites seven recent studies showing that aerobic fitness can increase by about 25 percent with regular workouts.
People who maintain a higher level of fitness reduce their risks of serious illness, and recover more quickly and completely when they are injured or sick. Regular exercise also helps to maintain good muscle tone, muscle strength, balance and coordination; providing greater independence for people as they age.