Aerobic Workout Benefits
Whether you call it aerobic, cardiovascular, or endurance exercise, you’re getting your heart pumping and oxygenated blood flowing. Learn all about this type of workout and how it is beneficial to more than just your heart.
In keeping our bodies fit and healthy, we need to incorporate proper exercise along with our healthy diet plan. Just like our food selections, there are also a lot of workout routines out there that we can choose from. With a lot of benefits to offer, let’s take a closer look today at one of your best options: aerobic exercises.
What Are Aerobic Exercises?
Aerobic exercise is a physical exercise varying from low to high intensity that involves any type of cardiovascular conditioning. Also known as "cardio" or cardio-respiratory exercise, it can include activities like brisk walking, running, cycling, or swimming.
By definition, aerobic means "involving, or requiring oxygen." During aerobic activities, your breathing and heart rate will both increase. As such, aerobic exercises are beneficial to the lungs, heart, and circulatory system.
More on the Benefits of an Aerobic Workout
Although all types of movements and workouts can provide us with some kind of benefits, aerobic exercise is particularly effective since it pushes the heart and lungs to work harder than what they are used to. Aside from this, here are more ways they can be beneficial:
- Helps maintain a healthy weight - Doing aerobic workouts burns calories for energy. It's a great technique to get your body into a calorie deficit (when you burn more calories than you consume), allowing you to lose weight.
- Prevents heart disease - Research suggests that aerobic exercises can help in the prevention of heart disease and can lower the risk of death from these types of illnesses.
- Controls blood sugar levels - Aerobic exercise can improve insulin sensitivity (allowing the body to control blood sugar levels with less insulin). In addition, glucose from the blood is also used by the muscles during aerobic workouts. This also helps to keep blood sugar levels from rising too high.
- Lowers blood pressure - Aerobic exercise can help you maintain a healthy blood pressure level. In a British study, it was found that aerobic exercise is as beneficial as medications in lowering high blood pressure.
- Improves brain health - Researchers have also found that an aerobic workout could improve the function of critical brain regions like the hippocampus by increasing its size. It can also help our brain manage its responses to stress, which can contribute to the wellness of our mental health.
What Counts as Aerobic Workout?
The key difference between aerobic and anaerobic workouts is that anaerobic exercises (such as sprinting or weightlifting) require fast bursts of energy. They're done at maximal effort for a brief period of time. With aerobic exercises, however, you work out for an extended amount of time.
If you are looking for options in the gym or with a group, you can choose from several aerobic class workouts such as cardio kickboxing, Zumba, and indoor cycling classes. You can also work out on your own using the elliptical machine or stationary bike. For those who are working out at home, the options are numerous as well — from jump rope, walking, running, jogging, to aerobic strength circuit.
Guidelines on Aerobic Exercises
There are three components to aerobic exercise: intensity, frequency, and duration. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, adults should strive for 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical exercise or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise per week. Just remember — whether you choose to work out at home or in the gym, make sure that before beginning any exercise, you always do a warm-up for about 5 to 10 minutes.