Goals are great for motivation. Goals can be super-important, such as better health, especially if you have a medical condition or are out of shape. Goals can be more frivolous and fun, such as to beat your husband in a swimming race. Goals serve to prod you to go to the gym when you're feeling tired or lazy. They help you keep your eyes on the prize, whether it is to reduce your cholesterol level or fit into that pair of skinny jeans. Fortunately, aerobic exercise, also known as cardio conditioning, can help you reach any of those goals and more.
Strengthen the Heart
If you literally want to keep on ticking, your heart needs to be strong. Aerobic conditioning strengthens your heart and cardiovascular system by working it sufficiently to keep blood flowing efficiently throughout the body, thereby preventing cholesterol from building up in your arteries and causing heart disease. There are many forms of aerobic exercise, including jogging, biking, swimming, dancing or playing sports such as soccer, tennis or basketball.
Losing weight offers all sorts of health benefits, including a lesser risk of type-2 diabetes and heart disease. Losing weight helps you look and feel your best and increases your self-esteem. Coupled with a healthy diet, aerobic exercise enables you to burn more calories than you are consuming. If your goal is to lose 1 pound per week, a healthy approach to weight loss, you'll need to burn an extra 500 calories per day through moderate or vigorous exercise.
Live a Long and Healthy Life
If your goal is to live long, prosper and see your great-grandchildren frolic in the park, aerobic conditioning is essential. As MayoClinic.com explains, cardio exercise reduces the risk of such killers as obesity, high blood pressure, stroke and certain types of cancer. It wards off depression and anxiety and boosts cognitive abilities. It enables you to remain as active as possible for as long as possible.
Have Fun Playing or Competing
Aerobic conditioning is essential for sports -- you have to get in shape or stay in shape to derive the most enjoyment out of athletic activities. Your goal could be to prepare for a 10K walk, a triathlon or a soccer league season. Such goals keep the fun factor in aerobic conditioning. Despite your best intentions, it's hard to stay motivated if you don't enjoy working out. So find activities you enjoy, and aerobic exercise will be a pleasure instead of a chore.
Jim Thomas has been a freelance writer since 1978. He wrote a book about professional golfers and has written magazine articles about sports, politics, legal issues, travel and business for national and Northwest publications. He received a Juris Doctor from Duke Law School and a Bachelor of Science in political science from Whitman College.