Ask us, we know this one by “heart”—no pun intended. First, let’s define both words: Fitness is the physical ability of your body to perform an athletic activity. Health is the state in which all the systems of the body—nervous, muscular, skeletal, circulatory, digestive, lymphatic, hormonal, etc. are working optimally and are working together. Everyone’s goal should be to become not just fit, but healthy.
One of the many great ways to accomplish this is by exercising properly. To be healthy you must exercise aerobically. This means to exercise “with oxygen”, where you burn fat as your primary fuel. The opposite of this is anaerobically which means that you are exercising “without oxygen”. Here you burn glycogen (sugar) as your primary fuel. The level of your exercise intensity determines whether you are using your aerobic or anaerobic system. The higher your heart rate, the more anaerobic the exercise becomes. Your goal should be to exercise comfortably for a longer period of time, rather than a shorter, more intense period. There are many benefits of aerobic training: your lungs operate more efficiently, your oxygen supply increases due to increased red blood cell production, you sleep better, you digest and eliminate waste better and you feel better mentally and emotionally.
The best way to exercise aerobically is to use a heart rate monitor. To establish your aerobic training heart rate use the following formula: 180 minus your age, then give yourself 5 points above this and 5 points below this for your range. If you exercise within this 10 point range for at least 30 minutes per day, you will see amazing results both physically and mentally and your heart and lungs will work optimally. In addition, because you are exercising efficiently, you will burn fat (not sugar) and your metabolism will increase which will aid in weight loss the healthy way. Plus your heart will thank you.