benefits of aerobic exercise
Rajesh Panda

Rajesh Panda

Founder And Chief Editor, FitnessRhythm

15 Proven Benefits of Aerobic Exercise

Aerobic exercise is any activity that makes your large muscle groups work and that gets your blood pumping. Many people also refer to these as cardiovascular activities.

According to experts, you should aim for about 75 minutes of vigorous activity or 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week. Examples of vigorous activity include cycling and running. Moderate activity includes things like swimming or brisk walking. Regardless of what you choose, the key is to get up and get moving.

You may wonder why aerobic exercise is so important. The fact is that it offers an array of benefits. Keep reading to learn more about what benefits aerobic exercise does for your health, the top benefits of aerobic exercise, and why you should regularly engage in it. Understanding the benefits offered is the best way to encourage yourself to get active and stay active at any stage of life.

Your Body and Aerobic Exercise

Engaging in aerobic exercise means repeatedly moving large muscles in your hips, legs, and arms. Once you start doing this, you will notice the way your body responds right away.

During this type of activity, you will breathe more deeply and faster. This is beneficial since it maximizes the blood flow into your lungs and muscles. As you continue to participate in your chosen activity, the small blood vessels, called capillaries, will get wider, allowing them to deliver more oxygen to the muscles while effectively carrying away waste products, like lactic acid and carbon dioxide.

Even better, your body will begin releasing endorphins. These are the body’s natural painkillers that help promote an increased feeling of well-being.

Benefits Offered by Regular Aerobic Exercise

It doesn’t matter what your athletic ability is, nor does your weight or age matter – aerobic activity will be beneficial for you, physically, mentally, and emotionally. Regardless of your age, aerobic activities offer several health benefits. As your body begins to adapt to this regular activity, you will begin to get fitter and stronger.

Some of the top benefits offered by participating in regular aerobic exercises include:

Aerobic Exercise Benefits :

1. Improved Heart Health

Your heart is one of the most important organs in your body. Because of this, you must take steps to ensure it remains healthy. Today, heart disease is the top cause of death in the U.S. Because of this, you must keep it as healthy and strong as possible.

Engaging in aerobic exercises can help improve blood circulation through your body while improving cardiac output strength. As mentioned above, it is a good idea to get a minimal amount of aerobic exercise each week for superior heart health.

2. Reduces Blood Pressure

Engaging in cardiovascular exercise can help you manage the symptoms of high blood pressure. This is because it effectively lowers your blood pressure. If you want to control high blood pressure, you may need medication; however, engaging in regular aerobic activity can help with this goal, too.

3. Maintain a Healthy Weight

When you reach and maintain your goal weight, you will look better and feel better and be healthier. However, this process involves regular aerobic exercise.

While other exercises are beneficial when trying to lose weight, it has been proven that aerobic exercise provides the fastest and most notable results. Because of this, you need to ensure you engage in it regularly.

4. Increased Muscle Tone

In the past, it was believed that if your goal was to build muscle, cardio was not the way to go. Instead, resistance training was needed, which helps you increase your strength.

However, today, countless studies have been published that have proven this isn’t the case and that intense cardio exercise can increase muscle mass. When done properly, aerobic exercises can lead to the same level of muscle growth you would expect when engaging in resistance exercises.

5. Reduce the Risk of Some Cancers

When you are physically active and regularly engaging in aerobic exercise, it will reduce your risk of developing some common cancers. In fact, research has proven that adults who engage in more physical activity can reduce their likelihood of developing the following types of cancer:

  • Stomach (non-cardia and cardia adenocarcinoma)
  • Bladder
  • Lung
  • Breast
  • Kidney
  • Colon (distal and proximal)
  • Esophagus
  • Endometrium

It can also help to improve the lives of cancer survivors. Research has proven that getting regular physical activity will improve your physical fitness and help you get stronger and feel better after beating cancer.

6. Mood Improvement

It’s estimated that one out of every five people experiences some type of mental illness. Many of the people in this category experience anxiety and depression, and other illnesses that may affect their daily mood.

In a recent study, aerobic exercise helped to reduce the symptoms associated with depression than those who did not engage in this activity. In fact, there is evidence that engaging in just five minutes of aerobic activity can help elevate and improve your mood. What this means is taking a brisk walk around your block or to the mailbox can mean the difference between a bad day and a good one. Just to be clear, any level of physical exercise is beneficial for your mood.

7. Regulates Blood Sugar Levels

Regular workouts will help to balance your insulin levels. Over time, this can result in lower blood sugar levels while helping keep your body weight under control. If you have type 2 diabetes, engaging in aerobic exercises can also help with this condition.

Along with helping improve cases of type 2 diabetes, regular cardio activity can reduce the risk you will develop. The same is true for metabolic syndrome.

Metabolic syndrome occurs when someone experiences all or some of these issues:

  • Excessive fat around the waist
  • High blood pressure
  • Low HDL cholesterol
  • High blood sugar
  • High triglycerides

You will likely begin to see benefits for these conditions if you engage in the recommended 150 minutes of aerobic activity per week. Surpassing this will help to reduce your risk further.

8. Strengthen Bones and Muscles

As you get older, you must take steps to protect your muscles, joints, and bones. After all, these are responsible for helping you move and supporting your body. When you keep your muscles, joints, and bones healthy, it will help ensure you can handle day-to-day activities while remaining physically active.

When you engage in bone-strengthening, muscle-strengthening, and aerobic physical activities at a moderately intense level will help to slow down the loss of bone density that often occurs as you age.

A hip fracture is a serious health condition that can have significant negative effects. This is particularly true for seniors or older individuals. Physically active people have a much lower risk of suffering a hip fraction than inactive individuals.

With older adults, physical activity will also help to reduce the possibility of falls and serious injuries resulting from falls. When your physical activity program involves more than one type of exercise, fall risk is reduced even more.

Some of the different types of physical activity to engage in to help with this include balance activities, muscle strengthening exercises, and aerobic activity. You should also consider weight-bearing activities, like jumping jacks, brisk walking, and running, which produce a force on your bones. These are going to improve bone strength while reducing your risk of falling.

However, engaging in regular aerobic activity offers other benefits, too. For example, if you are dealing with arthritis or another type of rheumatic condition that impacts your joints, aerobic exercises can help.

9. Improved Confidence

When you feel good, you will put your best foot forward. People who feel good tend to walk taller and face their day with more confidence. When you engage in aerobic exercise, you will begin to feel your muscles define and break the personal records you have set. This is all going to lead to improved self-confidence.

For most people, this is something that will carry over into daily, life too, helping you perform better at work, be more present with your family, and just feel happier overall. What’s even better is that when you begin to feel more confident, you will also start to make healthier choices. Rather than viewing your health and taking care of your health as a chore, it will be something you look forward to improving.

10. Improved Sleep

Do you have trouble getting to sleep at night? If so, you should try cardiovascular exercise while you are awake. According to one study that involved people with chronic sleep issues, it was proven that engaging in a regular exercise program combined with good sleep hygiene is a great way to overcome insomnia.

Individuals in the study who engaged in some type of aerobic activity for 16 weeks and then completed a survey regarding their mood and sleep reported improved sleep quality and duration. They also reported improvements in how they felt during the day.

However, a pro tip is to make sure you don’t exercise too close to your bedtime. This will make it more difficult to fall asleep. A good rule of thumb is to make sure you complete your workout a minimum of two hours before you go to bed.

11. Improved Gut Health

According to a recent study, cardio exercise can impact and change the microbes’ makeup in your gut. Microbes play a huge role in overall inflammation levels, which is often an early sign of some type of illness or condition.

During the study, researchers requested that those participating exercise three to five times a week for six weeks. Throughout the study, there were increases in butyrate concentrations, which is a fatty acid that helps keep your gut “happy.” This is because it helps reduce inflammation and produce energy.

This was one of the first studies that proved exercise can impact your gut positively.

12. Increase Your Lifespan

Science has proven that physical activity will reduce the risk you have of dying early because of some of the leading causes of death, such as cancers and heart disease.

It’s worth noting that only a few lifestyle choices will impact your health significantly. If you are active for a minimum of 150 minutes per week, you can enjoy a 33% lower risk of all-cause mortality than inactive individuals.

You also don’t have to engage in vigorous-intensity or high amounts of activity to reduce the possibility of premature death. The benefits can be seen with any level of physical activity as long as you are consistent.

13. Improved Memory

Regular physical activity can help reduce the loss of brain tissue when aging. It will also help enhance cognition. This means that over time, as you continue being physically active, your memory will improve and last longer, even as you get older.

14. Safe for Everyone (Even Children)

Aerobic exercise is recommended for almost all groups of people. This includes older people who are dealing with chronic health conditions. In this situation (and for most people), it is good to consult with your doctor to see what is safe and what will work best for your situation.

It is important to make sure your children engage in aerobic exercise, too. Today, cardio activity recommendations are higher for children than adults. It’s a good idea to make sure your child is moving a minimum of 60 minutes per day (or more). While moderate activities are fine, you should make sure your child gets into the vigorous zone a minimum of three times per week.

15. Accessible and Affordable

You don’t have to invest in any type of fancy or expensive equipment or even get a gym membership to start working out. Getting regular exercise every day is as simple as going for a walk around your neighborhood or going to the local trail with a friend for a jog.

You can also check community centers or local schools to see if they offer pool access to the public. Many locations provide free access to residents or that have a sliding scale rate. You may also find options for inexpensive or free fitness classes.

Consider looking online for free exercise sessions too. Sites like YouTube are full of options. You can also use a paid app to find customized workouts for your abilities and physical activity level.

Due to healthy people being more present at work and more productive, some employers offer free or discounted memberships for workers that join a local gym. Even if your employer doesn’t offer this, you could receive an incentive to get healthy from your insurance provider.

Are You Ready to Get Active?

As you can see, there are countless benefits offered by engaging in regular aerobic exercise. If you aren’t doing this now, it is a good time to start.

If you aren’t sure how to get started, talk to your doctor. They can help you ease into these activities to do so safely and don’t suffer an injury. Don’t wait to get active. The longer you wait, the more your health will deteriorate. Also, remember, it is never too late to get started, no matter your health now or your age. Get moving, and you will see all the benefits mentioned here and more. Your body will thank you, and you will feel so much better.

Are you ready to get up and get active? Taking the first step is often the most challenging, but as you can see from the benefits listed here, it will be more than worth it in the long run. 

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