aerobic exercise benefits essay

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Aerobic Exercise

What is aerobic exercise?

Aerobic exercise provides cardiovascular conditioning. The term aerobic actually means "with oxygen," which means that breathing controls the amount of oxygen that can make it to the muscles to help them burn fuel and move.

Benefits of aerobic exercise

Exercise safety

It is recommended that you talk with your physician before you start an exercise program . Ask what, if any, limitations you may have. People who suffer from diabetes , hypertension, heart disease, arthritis , pulmonary conditions, or other health conditions may need additional safety guidelines for exercise.

Note: If you develop symptoms during exercise including, but not limited to, unusual shortness of breath; tightness in the chest; chest, shoulder, or jaw pain; lightheadedness; dizziness ; confusion; or joint pain, you should stop exercising immediately and contact your physician.

What are some examples of aerobic exercise?

Lower impact aerobic exercise includes:

Higher impact aerobic exercise includes:

How often and for how long should I do these exercises?

The American Heart Association recommends that everyone reach a minimum of 30 minutes of some form of cardiovascular exercise 5 to 7 days per week. This can be broken up into 10-minute time periods. This means that taking 3 walks of 10 minutes each would let you reach the recommended minimum guideline for reducing the risk of heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol. You would also burn the same number of calories as you would if you walked for the full 30 minutes at 1 time.

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends a minimum of 3 sessions of 30 minutes of the total should be made up of moderate to vigorous exercise to improve cardio-respiratory fitness and help manage weight.

It is appropriate to do aerobic exercise every day. There is no need to rest in between sessions unless you are at an extreme level of training, such as preparing for a marathon , or if you experience reoccurring joint pain. If joint pain is a limiting factor, it would be appropriate to alternate less painful exercises with those that may cause joint pain or discontinue the painful exercise altogether.

Explanation of intensity

The intensity is determined by how hard you are working. The intensity of the exercise is determined by what your goals are, what limitations you have, and your current fitness level.

Heart rate and exercise

Your heart rate increases in direct correlation with the intensity of the exercise. Heart rate levels can vary significantly from one person to another based on fitness level, genetics, environment, and exercise tolerance. If you wish to train based on heart rate, contact your health care provider to determine what the appropriate range is for you. Some medications, most often blood pressure drugs, regulate heart rate, making it impossible to determine exercise intensity in this way. Ask your physician to determine if you are on any of these medications.

Monitoring intensity in other ways

How can you know if you are working at the right intensity? Using an RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion) chart can help you to determine the appropriate intensity. The scale uses a 1 to 10 rating system. One is very light, such as walking to the refrigerator for a glass of milk. Ten would be a very significant level, representing maximal exercise. Ten would be indicative of not being able to take another step without fear of collapse. It is not recommended for anyone to work at a rate of 10 without strict supervision by a healthcare provider. Moderate intensity is the level of exercise that is most recommended, and can be determined by a rating between a 3 and a 5.

Warming up and cooling down

Every session of aerobic exercise should include a warm-up and cool-down. The warm-up period should not include static stretching, but should instead be a gradual increase in pace and intensity of the exercise. This allows the body to increase blood flow to the muscles and decreases the likelihood of a muscle or joint injury. The warm-up should last between 5 and 10 minutes. The cool-down session should last a similar amount of time as the warm-up, with the pace gradually decreasing. Stretching exercises would be appropriate after aerobic exercise.

Progression of aerobic exercise

Progression to higher intensities of exercise should be based on individual exercise tolerance. There are 3 methods for challenging aerobic fitness:

Any of these methods, or a combination of these methods, will improve aerobic fitness. Increasing intensity should be done very gradually. You should challenge yourself for only a few minutes at a time.

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What are the benefits of aerobic exercise?

aerobic exercise benefits essay

Aerobic exercise reduces the risk of many health conditions, ranging from heart disease to dementia. Although all forms of physical activity provide some benefits, aerobic exercise is particularly effective because it causes the heart and lungs to work harder than usual.

National physical activity guidelines recommend at least 150 minutes of aerobic activity per week.

Some examples of aerobic exercise include:

In this article, we discuss some of the benefits that aerobic exercise offers the body and brain.

Benefits for the body

Aerobic exercise benefits the body in many different ways. These include:

1. Preventing heart disease

Aerobic exercise is essential for keeping the heart, lungs, and blood vessels healthy. Regular aerobic exercise can help prevent heart disease and reduce the risk of death from this condition.

2. Maintaining a healthy weight

a man enjoying the benefits of aerobic exercise through cycling.

People wishing to lose weight will need to ensure that they burn more calories than they consume, resulting in a caloric deficit.

Aerobic exercise causes the body to burn calories for energy. It is a great way to push the body into a caloric deficit, leading to weight loss. However, to reach a caloric deficit, most people will also need to reduce the number of calories that they consume.

Read more about the differences between cardio and weightlifting for weight loss.

3. Controlling blood sugar levels

Keeping blood sugar levels under control is important for reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes . It is essential for people with diabetes to keep their blood sugar levels within a healthy range. High blood sugar can damage blood vessels and lead to heart disease .

Insulin is necessary for regulating blood sugar. Aerobic exercise can increase insulin sensitivity so that the body requires less insulin to control blood sugar levels.

During exercise, the muscles also use glucose from the blood. In this way, exercise helps prevent blood sugar levels from rising too high.

4. Lowering blood pressure

High blood pressure puts stress on the blood vessels and heart. Over time, this can have serious consequences, such as increasing the risk of a heart attack or stroke .

Aerobic exercise can help keep blood pressure within a healthy range. A review of 391 trials in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that exercise is as effective as blood pressure medications in reducing high blood pressure.

5. Preventing and managing stroke

A stroke occurs when the blood supply to an area of the brain becomes obstructed. It can have serious and life threatening consequences. Regular aerobic exercise reduces the risk of a stroke by keeping the blood vessels and heart healthy.

It is also important for people who have had a stroke to stay as active as possible to support recovery and reduce the risk of another stroke. A doctor will advise a person on the best way to build up activity and start exercising again after a stroke.

6. Increasing lifespan

Aerobic exercise has such a broad range of health benefits that it helps people live longer. Higher levels of aerobic activity reduce the risk of death , regardless of the intensity of the activity.

7. Improving physical functioning

The ability to perform tasks for daily living is important in maintaining independence and well-being. Aerobic exercise improves the physical capabilities that are necessary for a person to function on a daily basis. Physical fitness also helps prevent falls and the resulting injuries.

Benefits for the brain

Aerobic exercise also benefits the brain in the following ways:

1. Reducing the risk of dementia

Regular aerobic exercise is one of the most effective methods of preventing Alzheimer’s disease , the most common form of dementia .

Research has shown that people with higher levels of physical activity have a lower risk of cognitive decline and dementia.

2. Helping with symptoms of depression and anxiety

Several clinical trials have found that aerobic exercise reduces symptoms in people with depression and anxiety disorders. Aerobic exercise also improves physical fitness, which may help prevent the onset of depression and anxiety disorders.

3. Enhancing cognitive performance

While aerobic exercise may delay cognitive decline in later life, it can also boost thought processes in children and adolescents.

Several studies have found evidence to suggest that aerobic exercise and physical fitness have links with better grades at school and improved performance on cognitive tasks, such as memory tests.

4. Improving brain health

Aerobic exercise causes many biological processes that help the brain function. The authors of a recent review article concluded that aerobic exercise could:

These changes are likely to contribute to the benefits of exercise on mental health and cognition.

Aerobic exercise is generally safe for most people. To avoid injuries, it is always a good idea to discuss exercise regimens with a professional.

People who have chronic health conditions should check with a doctor that their exercise plan is suitable. In some cases, people with heart conditions or high blood pressure may need to avoid high intensity exercise.

Read more about the general health benefits of exercise here.

Aerobic exercise provides a wide range of benefits for the body and brain.

National physical activity guidelines recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of high intensity aerobic activity every week. Getting more exercise than this will likely have additional benefits.

For some people, it may be difficult to find time for sports or regular visits to the gym. However, making small changes to daily routines can help these individuals reach the recommended amount of physical activity. For example, they could take the stairs instead of the lift or, when possible, try walking instead of driving.

Last medically reviewed on November 22, 2019

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All About That Pace: The Benefits of Jogging

aerobic exercise benefits essay

Somewhere between a quad-burning, sweat-lathered sprint and a leisurely stroll, there’s a sweet spot known as the jog.

Jogging is often defined as running at a pace less than 6 miles per hour (mph), and it has some significant benefits for people who want to improve their health without overdoing it.

What’s so great about this moderate aerobic exercise? Like running, it improves your cardiorespiratory health and boosts your mood. Here’s a list of some of jogging’s other benefits:

It can get you off that exercise plateau

The American Heart Association calls walking the most popular form of exercise in the nation. People walk their dogs, take a stroll on the beach, climb the stairs at work — we love to walk.

But what if walking isn’t getting your heart rate up high enough for long enough? What if you’ve plateaued? Jogging is a great way to increase the intensity of your workout gradually, so you can minimize the risk of an injury that could sideline you for weeks.

Before you start jogging, talk to your doctor to be sure it’s the right form of exercise for you.

It can help you drop weight

Walking , power-walking , jogging, and running — they all improve cardiovascular health and help prevent obesity. But one study found that if you want to boost your weight loss, you’ll have more success if you pick up your pace.

The study doesn’t distinguish between jogging and running. Instead, it focused on increased weight loss that occurred when participants ran instead of walked.

It can strengthen your immune system

For the better part of a century, exercise scientists thought vigorous exercise could potentially leave you weakened and at risk for infection and disease. A closer look at the research indicates the opposite is true.

Moderate exercise , like jogging, actually strengthens your body’s response to illness. That holds true for both short-term illnesses, like upper respiratory tract infections, and long-term illnesses, like diabetes.

It has a positive effect on insulin resistance

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) , more than 84 million Americans have prediabetes , a condition that can be reversed.

Insulin resistance is one of the markers of prediabetes. The cells in your body simply aren’t responding to insulin, the hormone that keeps blood sugar levels in check.

The good news: A review of the research found that regularly running or jogging decreased insulin resistance in study participants. Researchers noted that a decrease in body fat and inflammation might be behind the improvement in insulin resistance.

It can help protect you from the negative effects of stress

Whether you’re a jogger, Hatha yoga enthusiast, or soccer beast, you’re bound to encounter stress. Jogging may protect the brain from the harmful effects of stress.

A 2013 review of studies found that aerobic exercise, like jogging, could potentially improve executive functioning and protect the brain from decline related to aging and stress.

A recent animal study from Brigham Young University found that among mice exposed to stressful situations, those who were regularly allowed to run on a wheel performed better, making the fewest errors following a maze and demonstrating the highest ability to remember and navigate skillfully.

It can help you cope with depression

Exercise has long been known to help people manage the symptoms of depression, but new science may help explain how.

Elevated cortisol levels have been linked to depressive episodes. Cortisol is a hormone your body releases in response to stress.

A 2018 study examined cortisol levels in people seeking treatment for depression. After 12 weeks of consistent exercise, those who exercised regularly throughout the study had reduced levels of cortisol throughout their entire day.

Doctors at Mayo Clinic advise people who have symptoms of anxiety or depression to take up a physical activity they enjoy. Jogging is just one example.

tips for boosting the benefits of jogging To get the most out of your jogging routine: Use the booty. Running experts say you’ll become a more efficient runner if you use your glutes to propel you. Get a gait analysis. A physical therapist who specializes in sports training can help you run safely and efficiently. Develop an entire body workout. Add strength, core, and balance training to ban boredom and benefit your whole body.

It keeps your spine flexible as you age

In between the bony vertebrae in your back, small, flexible discs act like protective pads. The discs are actually sacs filled with fluid. They can shrink and wear out as you get older, especially if you live a relatively sedentary life.

Sitting for long periods can really add to the pressure on these discs over time.

The good news is that jogging or running preserves the size and flexibility of these discs.

One study of 79 people found that regular joggers who ran at a pace of 2 meters per second (m/s) had better disc hydration and higher levels of glycosaminoglycan (a kind of lubricant) in their discs.

The healthier and more hydrated those discs are, the more flexible you’ll feel as you move through your day.

Last but definitely not least: It could save your life

A sedentary lifestyle, whether you’re playing video games or working at your desk, may increase your risk of premature death. What’s less well-known is that jogging at a slow pace just a few times a week might keep you alive much longer.

In the Copenhagen City Heart Study , researchers followed a group of joggers from 2001 to 2013. The group that had the best record of life longevity was the group that ran at a “light” pace for 1 to 2.4 hours, 2 to 3 days a week.

The study received some criticism, in part because “light” wasn’t defined, and what’s considered “light” for an athlete could be quite challenging for someone else. The findings also contradict other research that suggests strenuous exercise may be better for you.

Nevertheless, the study confirms what we already know about getting on the treadmill or hitting the trail: You don’t need to sprint like Caster Semenya or run marathons like Yuki Kawauchi to experience the benefits of aerobic exercise.

The American Heart Association recommends that you take good care of your feet before, during, and after jogging. Wear shoes made for running, talk to a pro about inserts or orthotics, and check for any blisters or swelling after you jog.

Best time of day to jog?

Of course, the best time of day to jog is the one that works for you! For many people, that means jogging in the morning before their hectic day eats up every spare moment.

Studies that compare results from exercising at different times of day have found mixed results.

A 2013 review of studies found that, for some men, endurance for aerobic exercise was increased if done in the morning.

A recent study found that exercising in the morning could adjust your circadian rhythm, making it easier to fall asleep in the evening and easier to get up earlier in the morning.

A 2005 review of the literature involving circadian rhythm and exercise concluded that the best time of the day to exercise may depend on the exercise.

While activities that involve fine skills, strategy, and the need to remember coaching advice — like team sports — were better when performed in the morning, endurance activities — like jogging and running — might be more productive if done in the late afternoon or early evening when your core temperature is higher.

However, the researchers caution that their conclusions could be an oversimplification.

If weight loss is your goal, a recent study found that participants who exercised in the morning lost “significantly more weight” than those who exercised in the evening. Ultimately, the best time of day to jog depends on your goals and lifestyle.

tips for injury-free jogging To avoid injury: Get the right gear. To keep from being sidelined with an injury, work with a pro to get the right type and fit in a running shoe . Don’t overcushion. It might seem that more padding equals less impact, but if you’re a new runner, the reverse may be true. Studies have linked cushy, “maximalist” shoes to greater likelihood of getting hurt. Practice good posture. Running with your head down or your shoulders slumped puts extra stress on the rest of your body. Eyes up, shoulders back and down, chest lifted, core engaged — that’s how you prevent injuries to your back and knees. Talk to your doctor first. If you’re overweight or it’s been a while since you’ve exercised, talk to your doctor before you start jogging.

The bottom line

Jogging is a form of aerobic exercise in which you maintain a running speed under 6 mph. Regularly jogging can help you lose weight, especially if you also modify your diet.

Jogging can also help you improve your heart health and immune system, reduce insulin resistance, cope with stress and depression, and maintain flexibility as you age.

Last medically reviewed on July 15, 2019

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Benefits of Aerobic Exercise Essay: How to Live Longer

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