Total wellness being (TWB) is achieved by a combination of balanced aerobic exercise (AE), positive eating plan (PEP) and emotional equilibrium (EE). The total wellness point (TWP) and TWB was developed by Dr. Kenneth Cooper “the father of aerobics,” and his associates in the USA. Part I will consider aerobic exercise as a component of TWP. In the late 1960s, Cooper had scientifically studied the five types of exercises, namely isometric, isotonic or isophasic, isokinetic, anaerobic and aerobic and established the superiority of aerobics. The term aerobics was coined by him.
Aerobic exercises demand large amounts of oxygen for long periods and force the body to improve oxygen delivery system. They are performed with the body in a “Steady State” (chemical engineers know what this means).
In both reading book or running a marathon, there is regular breathing of air in and out. Difference is that marathoner’s energy expenditure is 12 to 15 times the book reader’s basic metabolic rate.
While reading a book, resting heart and respiratory rates are not operating at a high level to place demands on the body whereas in marathon running, they are.
High demand response is called Training Effect and many positive physical changes accompany. Important ones are as follows:
Total blood volume increases (so that body is better equipped to transport oxygen)
Lung capacity increases (vital capacity is linked to longevity)
Heart grows stronger, better supplied with blood (With each stroke volume it pumps more blood)
Stroke volume increases
HDL goes up
TC/HDL ratio goes down
Reduction in risk of arterial hardening
Dr. Cooper said that for longevity and health one should earn 15 aerobic points a week and for aerobic capacity building 35 points. These can be got by running two miles in 30 minutes three times a week or three miles in 45 minutes two times a week. However, it is not mandatory to run to earn points. Limit run/walk to 12/15 miles a week, unless training for a marathon or for competitive events. More exercise than this increases risk or incidence of joint and bone injuries and less than this will fail to achieve desired improvements.
Now the benefits of aerobic training are too well known but let us understand the aerobics point system developed by Cooper. The energy cost of each activity, especially walking and running was experimentally determined by actual measurements.
Walking one mile in 20 minutes on a tread mill required energy consumption of 3.4 calories per minute over and above the resting state. So, walking one mile 20 minutes burnt 68 calories. In running a mile in six minutes 15 seconds, the fastest time considered in Cooper’s research, energy cost was 16.6 calorie per minute or 100 calories for the run.
Distance covered is the same in both the cases, but total expenditure of energy per unit time is different for the two activities. In between the extremes of 20 minutes and six minutes there is progressive increase in calorie costs for walking and progressive decrease in calorie costs of running. There is a threshold a point at which energy spent in running slowly and walking fast tend to converge.