Most people already know how important regular exercise is, but what type of activity is the best? Yoga, Pilates, stretching, strength training, and other “slow” forms of exercise are always helpful. However, there’s one type that undoubtedly provides the most benefits: aerobics.
In this article:
- What Is Aerobics?
- Kinds of Aerobic Exercises
- Who Can Benefit from Aerobics?
- Benefits of Aerobics
- Tips for Optimal Aerobic Exercise
Aerobics Exercises and How They Promote a Healthy Mind and Body
What Is Aerobics?
The term “aerobics” began at the end of the 1960s. It became a household word with the popularity of aerobic dance in the 1980s.
“Aerobic” means “in the presence of oxygen.” An aerobic exercise, then, means to work out at an intensity that uses oxygen to fuel it. As the person breathes, they take in oxygen, which helps convert fat into energy.
Aerobic energy production is different from anaerobic energy production. The latter exercises do not use oxygen to produce energy. Although one is still breathing during the workout, it is not as steady.
For example, during strength training, a fitness participant might hold their breath. It, then, limits the amount of oxygen that reaches the working muscles.
During aerobic exercises, the oxygen flows smoothly to the muscles. This allows the person to sustain the routines longer.
Kinds of Aerobic Exercises
The word “aerobics” seems to conjure images of jumping jacks, dances, and jogs, but these are not the only types of exercises you can do.
Aerobic exercises have specific features. They are continuous, rhythmic movements that use the arms and/or legs. They get the blood pumping and increase the heart and breathing rates. These are necessary to bring in the needed oxygen for the muscles. That’s why you tend to breathe faster.
Here are some examples of aerobic exercises:
- Brisk walking
- Stair climbing
- Ice skating
For those looking to lose weight with aerobic exercise, one of the best options is high-intensity interval training (HIIT). It is a type of workout composed of short bursts of exercises. In each set, you need to give 100%.
Who Can Benefit from Aerobics?
Nearly everyone can participate in some sort of aerobic exercise. Even those who have a disability or chronic illness can find a way to get active — and they should. Talking to a doctor often helps these individuals come up with a safe way to exercise.
Aerobic exercise has numerous positive effects, many of which can’t be obtained any other way. Those who take up any form of aerobics on a consistent basis will immediately begin to experience these health benefits.
Benefits of Aerobics
Your efforts to be consistent and perform aerobic exercises can reward you with the following:
1. Weight Loss
You need to maintain the ideal weight for two reasons. One, being overweight or obese is a risk factor of chronic diseases. These include heart disease, type II diabetes, and some forms of cancer. It also makes you feel good about yourself, boosting your self-esteem.
How can an aerobic exercise aid in weight loss? As the body uses oxygen to change fat into energy, it burns calories. The more calories you use, the less fat the body stores.
2. Improved Blood Sugar Levels
Type II diabetes affects millions of Americans. It increases their risks of chronic kidney disease, blindness, and disability.
This disease involves issues with insulin, a hormone that helps the cells to accept glucose. What aerobic exercise does is to reduce insulin resistance and use extra glucose.
3. Increased Ability to Sleep
Good sleep is essential for a healthy body, sound immune system, and improved mood. If you struggle with it, regular aerobic exercise helps. It tires the body and mind to allow for a smoother transition to sleep.
Studies have also shown those who exercise every day (or at least five times a week) sleep better at night. It not only helps you fall asleep faster and longer but also improves the quality of sleep.
One word of caution, though: do not exercise too close to bedtime, or it can have an opposite effect.
4. Enhanced Mood
When the body exercises, it releases certain hormones. One of these are endorphins, which boost mood and help reduce stress. Aerobics can also enhance focus.
5. Healthy Heart
As a person’s fitness level improves, the heart becomes more efficient. It does not need to work as hard to pump oxygen to the muscles. Also, the resting heart rate slows down. The results are a decreased risk of heart disease and hypertension. You can also lower your cholesterol levels.
This benefit is also the reason aerobic exercises are known as cardiovascular or cardio exercises.
6. Better Immunity
Regular cardio exercises increase the body’s immunity. The sweat and breath may help remove the unwanted toxins and bacteria present in the airways or the lungs. In turn, it can help reduce the risk of respiratory illnesses such as pneumonia and the common cold.
7. Healthy Breathing
Aerobic exercise uses oxygen, increasing breathing levels. In the process, the lungs become better at their job. People with asthma or other breathing difficulties may find improvements by following a consistent aerobic exercise routine.
8. Pain Relief
Those who experience pain from an injury or disease may find relief when they do daily gentle sessions of aerobic exercises. They release hormones that boost mood and increase the feeling of pleasure.
Note, though, it’s never wise to push the body too much. It may only worsen the discomfort or pain. Find the right level of intensity.
9. Reduced stress
Research revealed regular cardiovascular or aerobic exercise helps you manage stress. It increases focus, brings attention away from the source, and relaxes the body afterward.
10. Better Balance
Aerobic exercises can improve the function of body parts responsible for balance. It may, then, decrease the risk of injury due to falling.
Tips for Optimal Aerobic Exercise
Check out these tips to help optimize any cardio workout and reap the best results:
1. Always Begin with a Warm-Up
Remember to always warm up before you do any exercise. It will loosen the muscles and, thus, reduce the chances of injury.
2. Start Slow
For those new to aerobics, it’s best to begin slow. Start by taking a walk around the block after dinner each evening or going for an easy hike or bike ride.
3. Change Things Up Over Time
At some point, repetitive cardio exercises can become tedious. Your body will also get used to them, and you may see many more changes.
You can change your cardio workouts every two weeks. For example, switch running and jogging with biking. You may also include an occasional game of soccer.
4. Try Working Out with a Buddy
Some people may have trouble motivating themselves to work out consistently. Exercising with a buddy can make you accountable and inspire you to keep going.
5. Alternate with Strength Training
Aerobics is one of the best ways to improve or maintain overall health. Remember, though, strength training is also essential for muscle growth and development.
6. Exercise for At Least 30 Minutes Daily
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends 150 minutes of aerobic activity each week. You can break that down to 30 minutes a day.
If you are having a hard time meeting this, consider a 10-minute goal. Work out for 10 minutes three times a day. As your fitness level improves, you can exercise for half an hour to 60 minutes straight.
7. Monitor Your Breathing
Proper breathing can help you last longer during an aerobic workout. However, you may also run out of breath. If you can no longer talk while working out, the intensity level of the cardio exercise may be too high. You need to slow down.
Learn some extra benefits of aerobic exercise from Natural Nutrition For Life:
There’s no doubt aerobics are hard work, but let the benefits inspire you to keep going. When it gets tough, know you can always count on some support. Get cheers from your family, find a workout buddy, or even take supplements to help you become stronger.
What are your top five aerobics exercises? Share your list with us in the comments section below.