Aerobic training or cardiovascular training is what usually comes to mind when people say “I need to get in shape”.
Any activity that raises your heart rate and increases your breathing rate can be considered an aerobic exercise. Aerobic exercise also uses the major muscles of the body. It increases the rate of respiration. It increases the width of your arteries, capillaries and veins. It increases the rate of transportation of oxygen and other byproducts of the body.
Experts of the American Heart Association (AHA) recommend 150 minutes of moderate to intense aerobic exercise per week. That is about 30 minutes per day for 5 days. The nice thing is that they don’t have to be done all at once, you can actually spread them throughout the day if you have a busy lifestyle.
Some examples of moderate aerobic exercise are walking, gardening, jogging, etc. Examples of intense aerobic exercise are running, swimming, biking, etc.
Why should you start doing aerobic training? There is a very simple answer. Aerobic training brings many benefits to you. It can increase your longevity and allow you to have a better quality of life no matter your age or fitness level. The following are 11 ways aerobic exercise can benefit you:
- Improves your cardiovascular strength
Aerobic training increases your heart rate, making it more efficient at pumping blood throughout your body. The walls of the heart become stronger and more elastic allowing it to take more blood in, and pushing more blood out to the tissues of your body.
- Lowers blood pressure
Your arteries, capillaries, and veins become more flexible and stronger to adapt to the increased flow imposed by the heart. This lowers your blood pressure and heart rate.
- Lowers your cholesterol
Doing Aerobic exercise on a regular basis can help increase your good cholesterol (HDL) and lower your bad cholesterol (LDL and VLDL). This will help keep the circulatory highway clean and help prevent other cardiovascular complications. It lowers your risk of stroke and heart attack, among many other cardiovascular problems.
- Helps regulate insulin and keeps diabetes in check
Whether you are type 1 or 2 diabetic, aerobic exercise can benefit you in many ways. The main one is by improving the response of your body towards glucose. Type 2 diabetics can keep their insulin levels in check and sometimes even reverse the diabetes with the help of exercise and sound nutrition. Type 1 Diabetics need to be careful and make sure to have some food before engaging in activity to prevent hypoglycemia. It would be recommended to check with your doctor before starting an intense aerobic exercise regimen.
- Strengthens lungs and increases lung capacity
It actually increases the strength of the muscles involved in breathing such as the diaphragm, intercostals, etc. This will allow you to take in more air and increase your lung capacity and gas exchange efficacy.
This can even decrease the symptoms of asthma in some individuals.
- Reduce weight
Aerobic exercise in conjunction with good nutrition can help you lose those extra pounds. Losing those extra pounds brings with it many other benefits. The less weight you have to carry around, the easier it is on your joints. This could help reduce joint pain in some cases.
- Strengthens the immune system
Studies show that regular aerobic exercise can help keep your immune system strong. It can help you fight those common illnesses such as a cold and the flu.
- Improves mood
Doing the activity might feel hard at the beginning, but after a while your body will release the feel-good hormones (endorphins) and you will feel good. If you are just not feeling it; you feel tired, or depressed, for example, get some aerobic exercise in your life. Like Woody Allen said “80% of success is just showing up”. Same mindset applies here; 80% of success is just to start moving with a purpose.
- Boost brain power
When you exercise you increase your ventilation. That means more oxygen goes to the tissues of your body, and your brain will benefit significantly. That will help you improve your focus in important tasks, and improve your memory, among many others. There is some research that shows that it can help decrease the symptoms of some neurological diseases such as Parkinson, and multiple sclerosis.
- Reduce the risk of osteoporosis
Like mentioned at the beginning, aerobic exercise uses major muscle groups. The tension exerted on the bones by these muscles and the impact of exercises such as running will give the bone the stress necessary to maintain positive bone remodeling and prevent the onset of osteoporosis.
- Sleep better
This one is an extra one. Aerobic exercise can help improve sleep by reducing anxiety and by fatiguing the body. The body also lowers its temperature when going to sleep and the increase in temperature followed by the cool-down of a good aerobic session will make it easier for the body to get into the natural sleep state.
Try to finish your workout at least 2 hours before going to bed, and if doing exercise energizes you, it might be better for you to complete your exercise in the morning or at an earlier time many hours from your bed time.
Another great thing about aerobic exercise is that it requires little equipment. You can do it almost anywhere. Remember “you don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great” Zig Ziglar.
Get active today!