Is aerobic exercise your passion or your pain? There’s no escaping the fact that aerobic or cardio exercise, no matter what you call it, is an important part of each fitness plan. Aerobic exercises bring about endless health benefits, and the best thing is you do not require expensive equipment or gym memberships to give your body a good cardio workout. In fact, basic activities like climbing the stairs or brisk walking are effective, and don’t cost you a cent.
Here are 4 important advantages of aerobic exercise:
1) Improving your respiratory health
When you just start out on aerobic exercise, it is not unusual to find yourself getting out of breath during workouts. This of course feels pretty uncomfortable as no one enjoys the feeling as if their lungs are on fire, but in the long term it reaps great benefits.
When doing exercise, your body tissues expend oxygen more rapidly than when you are static. Consequently, your lungs have to work harder to meet your body’s demand for oxygen, enabling them to become more efficient. While your lungs do not become enlarged, they will instead become more effective in extracting the oxygen from the air that you inhale, and expelling the carbon dioxide from your body as you exhale.
Within a short period of time, you may actually notice that you do not run out of breath as easily as you previously did. You may even realize that engaging in more strenuous activities like playing with your children, sprinting up the stairs or carrying heavy objects become less difficult as you progress.
2) Helping you lose weight
Safe to say, the desire to lose weight is probably one of the main reasons why we take up aerobic exercises. And that’s certainly valid; regular cardio workouts can indeed help you lose those extra kilos. When engaging in aerobic activity, your body burns up fat stores in order to produce the required energy for your muscles, which then results in weight loss.
While intense aerobics that push your heart and lungs to the limit can help burn more fat, do always monitor your heart rate to ensure you are not going overboard with your cardio, and give your body sufficient time to recover.
3) Lifting your mood
If you are feeling stressed-out by work or other issues, aerobic exercise can actually improve your mood. That’s because cardio workouts encourage your brain’s neural growth and reduce inflammation, while promoting a state of calmness.
You might have experienced feeling more relaxed and positive after working out. This can be explained by your body releasing “happy hormones” like endorphins and serotonin as a result of exercise. Of course, exposing yourself to fresh air and nice scenery during outdoor cardio exercise helps lift your mood as well.
4) Giving you better sleep
Regular aerobic exercise has been known to help with sleeping problems like insomnia. It can help you fall asleep faster, sleep longer, and reduce your sleepiness in the daytime. If getting leg cramps when you are asleep affects your rest at night, you’d be glad to know that exercise can also prevent such cramps.
So if you are trying to improve the quality of your sleep through cardio, it’s advisable to do your workouts in the morning, as exercising in the afternoon or evenings may instead make it more difficult for some people to fall asleep, according to certain studies. But if mornings aren’t feasible for your workout, try to keep your evening cardio exercises at moderate intensity, rather than high intensity.
With so many benefits to aerobic exercise, there’s no reason not to get started if you haven’t already!