Cardiovascular Fitness or Aerobic Fitness is the ability to do moderately strenuous activity over a period of time. It reflects how well your heart and lungs work together to supply oxygen to your body during exertion and exercise. Your heart pumps oxygen-rich blood to the rest of your body. Since the heart itself is a muscle it can be "out-of-shape" just like the rest of your body, it needs exercise to maintain strength and endurance. If your heart is "out-of-shape" then it cannot pump the blood that it needs to, even when you are performing easy activities. Aerobics exercise your heart by helping it reach and maintain a Target Heart Range (THR) for at least 20 to 30 minutes. Your THR is the safest range of heartbeats per minute during exercise.
Activities such as swimming, walking, jogging, running, stair climbing and cross-country skiing are all aerobic. Once pain-control techniques are well understood, a patient should quickly progress to an aerobic conditioning program. It has been found that aerobic activity assists in bringing nutrients to structures in the spine. Some of these structures, like the disc, have a relatively poor blood supply and rely on body movements and aerobic activity to circulate nutrients to these structures. When a person is sedentary, less of these nutrients are able to get to the structures in the spine to keep them healthy.
Aerobic-conditioning activities should be chosen based on a patient's interest and availability, and should coordinate with the type of problem that the person has. Generally, a walking program, elliptical trainer, and upright bicycle are good choices. The program should be performed at least three times a week for 30-40 minutes each session.
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