The United States is grappling with a significant obesity issue, with data from the National Institutes of Health indicating two out of five adults as overweight and one in three as obese. Addressing this issue requires a two-pronged approach: a balanced diet and regular exercise. Austin "Ozzie" Gontang, a licensed psychotherapist and director of the San Diego Marathon Clinic, has highlighted the importance of aerobic, or cardiovascular, exercise in this battle against obesity.
Aerobic Exercise: A Key to Physical Fitness
Aerobic activities, which engage large muscle groups in a rhythmic and continuous manner, are vital for physical fitness. These activities can range from running, swimming, cycling, and walking, to dancing and team sports. They are widely accessible and adaptable, making them an integral part of any fitness regimen.
Health Benefits of Regular Aerobic Exercise
Regular aerobic exercise brings along a slew of health benefits. It can lead to improved cardiovascular health, better control of blood sugar levels, a reduced risk of diabetes, and enhanced immune function. Furthermore, it promotes better sleep quality and aids in weight management. Other notable benefits include lower blood pressure, a reduced likelihood of osteoporosis and arthritis pain, and alleviation of symptoms linked to depression and anxiety.
Recommendations and Expert Opinions
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests at least 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise per week. David Herzberg, a physical therapist, emphasizes that the key to maintaining a routine is to enjoy the chosen form of exercise. Options for aerobic activities are not limited to just traditional forms. They also extend to high-intensity interval training (HIIT), Pilates, weightlifting, and simple exercises like push-ups and planks. Herzberg particularly endorses jogging or running for its convenience and health benefits. Meanwhile, Gontang advocates for walking as a gentle yet effective aerobic exercise.