There are many proven health benefits to those that incorporate aerobic exercise into their daily routine. Cardiovascular or Aerobic Training improves your heart muscle and cardiovascular system. It not only improves endurance, but regular aerobic exercise strengthens the heart, allowing the heart to pump blood more efficiently, delivering oxygen and other important nutrients throughout the body with less effort.
Health Benefits of Aerobic (Cardio) Training
Research shows that the specific benefits of regular low impact aerobic exercise includes:
- Reduces stress. Regular aerobic exercise releases endorphins, your body's natural painkillers. Endorphins also reduce stress, depression and anxiety.
- Improves sleep patterns. Studies show that exercise help reduce stress, increases calmness, and improves sleep disorders. Reference: American Academy of Sleep Medicine (2008, June 12). Moderate Exercise Can Improve Sleep Quality Of Insomnia Patients. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 2, 2008, from http://www.sciencedaily.com /releases/2008/06/080611071129.htm
- Reduces anxiety. Aerobic exercise can reduce anxiety and improve the sleep quality of insomnia patients, according to several research studies. Reference: American Academy of Sleep Medicine (2008, June 12). Moderate Exercise Can Improve Sleep Quality Of Insomnia Patients. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 2, 2008, from http://www.sciencedaily.com /releases/2008/06/080611071129.htm
- May reduce chronic pain. Regular aerobic exercise releases endorphins, your body's natural painkillers.
- Reduces risk to many chronic diseases. Several studies show the benefit of regular exercise including aerobic exercise on health. In the January 2008 issue of Mayo Clinic Health Letter, the Mayo clinic notes the following health benefits associated with 30 minutes of exercise a day: lower blood pressure, reduction in LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol), improvement in the concentration of high-density lipoprotein (HDL or “good” cholesterol in the blood), reduction is risk to type 2 diabetes, reduction in risk to osteoporosis, cancer and heart disease, improvement in bone density. Note: extra weight is also a contributing factor to conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, type 2 diabetes (adult-onset diabetes) and some forms of cancer, therefore as you lose weight, your risk of developing these diseases decreases. Reference: Mayo Clinic (2008, January 4). Moderate Exercise Yields Big Benefits. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 2, 2008, from http://www.sciencedaily.com /releases/2008/01/080104123421.htm
- Helps reduce the risk of developing insulin sensitivity and Type 2 diabetes. Tighter management of blood glucose levels reduces the workload of the pancreas, which reduces the risk for developing insulin sensitivity, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes (adult-onset diabetes). Note, although aerobic exercise improved glycemic/blood sugar control in people with type 2 diabetes (adult-onset diabetes) significantly, the greatest improvements came from combined aerobic and resistance training. Referece: Mayo Clinic (2008, January 4). Moderate Exercise Yields Big Benefits. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 2, 2008, from http://www.sciencedaily.com /releases/2008/01/080104123421.htm. American College of Physicians (2007, September 18). Both Aerobic And Resistance Exercise Improved Blood Sugar Control In People With Diabetes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 2, 2008, from http://www.sciencedaily.com /releases/2007/09/070917173157.htm
- Lowers risk of heart disease (including but not limited to coronary artery disease, coronary heart disease angina.
- Stops or reverses the build-up of blockages in the vessels that supply blood to the heart.
- Increases the total number of red blood cells in the body, facilitating transport of oxygen.
- Helps control blood sugar. Regular exercise stops wild blood sugar fluctuations, thus helps control the insulin response as well.
- Increases bone density. Lowers risk of osteoporosis.
- Helps prevent osteoporosis (gradual loss of bone mass/strength). Research shows that bones become weaker if they are not stressed and that exercise helps prevent bone calcium loss.
- Improves mobility and strength in later life. Research shows that exercise helps improve mobility, flexibility and strength.
- Promotes weight loss through calories burning and increased metabolism. When performing aerobic (cardio) exercise the increase in work load of exercised muscles results in increased metabolic rate, fuel consumption or calorie burning, continues for several hours after the workout is completed.
- Weight management. Helps maintain a healthy weight.
- Burns calories. Aerobic exercise raises the metabolic rate and burns calories.
- Reduces body fat. A research team at the University of Chile Clinical Hospital in Santiago, showed that aerobic exercise reduced body mass index (BMI), a measure of body fat. The study also showed that the participants had waist circumference, decreased blood pressure, and reduced appetite. Reference; The Endocrine Society (2008, June 18). Aerobic Exercise Increases A Blood Protein That May Suppress Appetite. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 2, 2008, from http://www.sciencedaily.com /releases/2008/06/080616115855.htm.
- Reduces hunger and suppresses appetite. Aerobic exercise increases leptin levels, a hormone that helps reduce hunger and suppress appetite.
- Increases your metabolic rate. The metabolic activity of an individual is heightened for several hours following a bout of aerobic activity.
- Improves immune system. People who exercise regularly are less susceptible to minor viral illnesses such as colds and flu . It is possible that aerobic exercise helps activate your immune system and prepares it to fight off infection.
- Improved muscle health. Aerobic exercise stimulates the growth of tiny blood vessels (capillaries) in your muscles. This helps your body more efficiently deliver oxygen to your muscles and remove from them irritating metabolic waste products such as lactic acid.
- Improves balance and coordination.
- Tone muscles throughout the body.
- Increases fitness. Can help keep you fit if you have arthritis, without putting excessive stress on your joints.
- Increases stamina/endurance. Exercise may make you tired in the short term, i.e., during and right after the activity, but over the long term it will increase your stamina and reduce fatigue.
- Improves the ability of muscles to use fats during exercise, preserving intramuscular glycogen.
- Enhances the body's hormonal system. Aerobic exercise stimulates the body to secrete specific hormones that have positive specific effects on specific parts of our bodies. Examples include hormones that lower cholesterol, suppresses appetite (leptin), etc.
- Enhances the body's neuro system. Many hormonal changes affect the nervous system, including some that act on specific areas of the brain that control pleasure and elation. Among the effects are increased alertness and IQ
- Enhances the speed at which muscles recover from high intensity exercise.
- Slows down the aging process. Maintaining aerobic fitness through middle age and beyond can delay biological aging by up to 12 years and prolong independence during old age, according to several recent studies. Reference: BMJ-British Medical Journal (2008, April 10). Maintaining Aerobic Fitness Could Delay Biological Aging By Up To 12 Years, Study Shows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 2, 2008, from http://www.sciencedaily.com /releases/2008/04/080409205827.htm
- Increases brain power (cognitive ability). Several recent studies show that aerobic exercise can increase cognitive ability and allow down age related dementia. According to a recent review of studies from the Netherlands. Aerobic physical exercises that improve cardiovascular fitness also help boost cognitive processing speed, motor function and visual and auditory attention in healthy older people,” said lead review author Maaike Angevaren. Reference: Center for the Advancement of Health (2008, April 20). Aerobic Exercise Boosts Older Bodies And Minds, Review Suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 2, 2008, from http://www.sciencedaily.com /releases/2008/04/080417173453.htm
- Improves quality of life. Less chronic muscle pain, less stiffness and greater mobility are all benefits of exercising.
- Increases life span. Several studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine, scientifically linked aerobic exercise with increased life spans.