You know you need to work out, right? But if you’re just starting out, you may not understand the best types of exercises to get the results you want. Chances are that if you learn about the benefits of aerobic exercise, you will turn your attention to this life-changing type of workout.
Are you ready to feel better, look better, and get in the shape of your life? Follow along as we learn about the benefits of aerobic exercise.
What Is Aerobic Exercise?
When you work out to the point of being warm and just a little out of breath, you are doing aerobic exercise. Aerobic means “with oxygen,” which is different than anaerobic exercise which causes you to become out of breath.
Most people can only do anaerobic exercises for a short time, but one of the benefits of aerobic exercise is that you can do them for longer periods.
Examples of aerobic exercises are biking, gardening, dancing, walking, and jogging. Basically any type of exercise you can do for more than a few minutes.
How Often Should You Work Out?
We’ve all heard about the recent study that shows inactivity is as bad as smoking, but when it comes to exercise, the question remains: How much is enough?
According to the American College of Sports Medicine, about 150 minutes a week — or five 30-minute workout sessions a week — is ideal. And the physician who wrote the article also says that walking 10,000 steps a day should be a mandatory part of healthy living.
Done right, and those 10,000 steps a day could be part of an aerobic exercise routine.
How To Measure Your Intensity
Any time you begin a new exercise program, you need to understand at which intensity level you should approach it. For example, someone who is just beginning an exercise program will start at a lower intensity level than someone who has worked out for years.
To determine your level, you should first speak to your doctor. They know your fitness level and overall health condition and can advise you on how to get the most benefits of aerobic exercise.
One of the ways you can determine your intensity level is by your heart rate. The higher your heart rate, the more intense the workout is. If you are on blood pressure medication, it’s not possible to determine your intensity rate, and it’s important that you speak to your doctor about how you should proceed.
Another way to measure your intensity level is to use the Rated Perceived Exertion (RPE) scale. To get the benefits of aerobic exercise, try to stay at a level of three or four.
When you want to increase the level of intensity in your workout, you can do this three ways:
Don’t start out cold
Before starting your aerobic workout, you should take 5 to 10 minutes to warm up your muscles. That will help prevent injuries related to the exercise. And at the end of your workout, spend 5 to 10 more minutes cooling down. For instance, you can stretch after the aerobic exercise to help bring down your heart rate.
- 11 Great Benefits Of Aerobic Exercise -
When it comes to the benefits of aerobic exercise, it goes beyond just better general health. This form of exercise works every part of your body, and the benefits it provides are nothing short of amazing.
Here are 11 of the greatest benefits of aerobic exercise.
1. I heart you
If your goal is to improve your cardiovascular health, the American Heart Association recommends that you do some aerobic exercise (almost) every day. That’s because aerobic exercise strengthens your heart. And a stronger heart doesn’t have to beat as fast, and it can more easily pump blood to all the parts of your body that require it.
And in addition to strengthening your heart, aerobic exercise can also help lower your cholesterol.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, the exercise will raise your good cholesterol (HDL), but you will still also need to change your diet to lower your bad cholesterol (LDL) significantly.
2. Don’t feel pressured
Another one of the benefits of aerobic exercise is that when you do it, you will help keep your blood pressure under control. A meta-analysis of 23 studies involving 1,226 older, sedentary adults showed that aerobic exercise lowers the resting systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) of the participants.
In short, exercise helps lower blood pressure, so if yours is high, consider starting an aerobic exercise program right away to get it under control.
3. Walk away from the donut
If you struggle with high blood sugar, which can lead to diabetes, you’ll be happy to hear about one of the best benefits of aerobic exercise: lower blood sugar. But you may have heard that both aerobic exercise and resistance training can both help lower blood sugar and regulate insulin levels.
A recent study put those rumors to rest. Sports Medicine did a systemic review and meta-analysis to determine which type of exercise is best for high blood sugar, and in a 12 trial analysis, researchers determined that aerobic exercise helped lower blood sugar and insulin levels more than resistance training.
4. Breathe easy
Although it may seem counterintuitive, researchers determined that doing aerobic exercise improved the quality of life with study participants who had moderate to severe asthma.
In the study, 58 participates with asthma did aerobic exercises for 12 weeks. At the end of the study, researchers learned that exercise not only improved the patient’s quality of life, but it also reduced the frequency and severity of their asthma. Researchers walked away with the belief that adding aerobic exercise to a patient’s drug treatment would be beneficial.
Be sure to check with your doctor if you have asthma before beginning any exercise program.
5. Don’t back out
If you suffer from chronic back pain, one of the benefits of aerobic exercise is that it may help relieve it. The exercise does this in two ways. First, aerobic exercise may help you lose weight, and if excess weight contributes to your back pain, the pounds you shed will help relieve it.
Second, by working out, you will strengthen your back’s muscle function, which will also help with endurance. If you’re using aerobic exercise to help relieve chronic back pain, swimming or aqua aerobics might be the right exercise choices for you. Again, talk to your doctor for advice.
6. Dream it
If you have trouble sleeping, aerobic exercise may help you get a more restful night’s sleep. A study that researchers conducted on 17 adults who claimed they had insomnia was published in Sleep Medicine. Part of the group conducted good sleep hygiene habits and did aerobic exercise for 16 weeks, while the other participants only maintained good sleep hygiene habits.
The results show that aerobic exercise, along with good sleep hygiene habits, is an effective method of conquering insomnia. The participants also said they were more awake during the day and had better vitality.
But experts say that if you exercise too close to bedtime, it could lead to sleep disruption. Instead, exercise at least two hours before you plan to go to sleep.
7. Forget the diet, just do aerobic exercise
How many times have you heard that you need to watch your diet and exercise to lose weight? When it comes to the benefits of aerobic exercise, that advice may not hold water.
Researchers conducted a study where they asked overweight people to exercise 5 times a week for 10 months. They needed to do exercise that would burn 400 to 600 calories.
But here’s the thing: they told them not to change their diets.
Most of the study participants chose to walk or jog on treadmills for most of their exercise sessions. And they lost a significant amount of weight. Both men and women lost between 4.3 and 5.7 percent of their starting weight.
All without changing their diet.
I’d call that one of the best benefits of aerobic exercise, wouldn’t you?
But researchers say that if you combine diet with this type of aerobic exercise, you will lose the weight without the need to work out quite as much.
8. Put up a fight
Your immune system is essential when it comes to fighting off illness. But did you know that one of the benefits of aerobic exercise is an improved immune system?
Researchers at Pennsylvania State University decided to look at the impact of aerobic exercise on women and their immune systems.
They broke the women into three groups:
All groups of women had their blood taken before and after the various sessions. They also had blood drawn at different times of the day in the days and weeks following the sessions.
Researchers uncovered one of the most significant benefits of aerobic exercise: a boost in immunity.
They found that regular and moderate aerobic exercise increased immunoglobulins, which are antibodies in the blood. These immunoglobulins help strengthen the immune system. On the other hand, the women who did not exercise had much higher cortisol levels and had no immune system improvements.
9. Smarten up
Who says you have to lose cognitive abilities as you age? Even though studies show that our brains shrink about 5 percent per decade after age 40, aerobic exercise may help slow it down.
To determine how aerobic exercise impacts cognitive health, researchers gathered participants who were 55 years or older, had no history of stroke or organic brain dysfunction and scored below 20 on the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE).
The participants agreed to a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test. Then researchers examined each participant to determine their health, including the level of aerobic fitness.
What they found shows the major benefits of aerobic exercise. Those participants who were the fittest had fewer reductions in the frontal, parietal, and temporal areas of the brain.
That means when you add aerobic exercise to your daily routine, you can prevent tissue erosion from your brain. Talk about a reason to get moving!
10. Don’t worry, be happy
If you’re struggling with depression or just want to improve your mood, one of the benefits of aerobic exercise is that it can put you in a better mood.
To prove this, researchers asked people who suffered from major depression to walk on a treadmill for 30-minute sessions for 10 days. After the 10 days, participants were asked to report on any mood changes they’d experienced.
Every single participant reported that they experienced a significant reduction in the symptoms of depression. And one of the key findings of the study that is that symptoms of depression are often relieved by even a single workout.
If aerobic exercise can relieve symptoms in people who suffer from major depression, it can also help lift the mood of people who aren’t clinically depressed but just need a lift.
11. Stand on your own two feet
As we age, we become less stable, and that’s when many people begin to experience falls. In fact, the National Institute on Aging says that for those over 65 years old, 1 in 3 people experience a fall every year.
But one of the benefits of aerobic exercise is that it reduces the risk of falling because it makes you more stable.
One study conducted on women who were between 72 and 87 years old, proves this. The women took aerobic dance classes 3 times a week for 12 weeks. The lessons included squats, balancing on one leg, marching, and other basic motor tasks.
After the 12 weeks, the women experienced better strength when gripping objects, were better able to stand on one leg with their eyes closed and had a better reach.
All of these skills can help reduce the risk of falls by improving balance and agility.
How To Stay Safe When Exercising
One of the benefits of aerobic exercise is that it’s safe for almost anyone. Kids can do aerobic exercises as can the elderly.
But when starting any exercise program, it’s essential that you keep a few safety rules in mind. Here are some to consider.
The Benefits Of Aerobic Exercise Are Many
As you can see, there are many benefits of aerobic exercise. Whether you’re just beginning your health journey or are looking to increase your existing one, an aerobic exercise routine can boost your health, your mood, and help prevent aging. What’s not to love about that?
Have you already discovered the benefits of aerobic exercise? If so, we would love to hear about your experience in the comments below!