Aerobic Exercise: Learn About the Benefits of a Cardio Workout

We take a look at the benefits of aerobic exercise. Besides relieving stress, it can improve your heart's health.
Aerobic Exercise: Learn About the Benefits of a Cardio Workout

Last update: 30 June, 2018

Commonly known as cardio, aerobic exercise is a necessary part of improving your cardiorespiratory system and allowing you to burn fat. In this article, we look at the benefits of aerobic exercise, something you should be doing regardless of your fitness goals.

What is aerobic exercise?

Before going any further, we will take a moment to define this type of exercise, which – unlike anaerobic exercise – does not increase muscle mass. Nevertheless, those seeking to get more muscle (or tone the ones they have) should also take it up.

This is because aerobic exercise serves to improve endurance. As a result, the body will have more oxygen and energy for weightlifting.

Aerobic exercises can be categorized according to their intensity. To know which stage you are at, you must first identify your heart rate (beat per minute, or BPM). The math is easy: subtract your age from 220, if you are a man or subtract from 210, if you are a woman. For example, a normal heart rate for a 30 year old man is 180 BPM. For a 45 year old woman, it is 165 BPM.

There are 3 types of aerobic exercise based on these parameters. Low-intensity does not exceed 60% of the BPM. Moderate will range between 60% and 75% of the BPM. Finally, high-intensity runs from between 75% to 85% of the BPM. Believe it or not, you get the best results and benefits from moderate intensity.

The disciplines of aerobic exercise include: swimming, rowing, biking, skiing, climbing, taking the stairs, dancing, running, playing tennis or squash, and practicing HIIT.

Benefits of aerobic exercise

People doing aerobic exercise

Although there are many more, the main positive effects that aerobic exercise has on the body include the following:

1. Improved heart health

When you experience an aerobic workout, your entire body benefits. However, the organ that reaps the most reward is the heart, and the circulatory system in general.

Moderate-intensity exercise allows more oxygen to enter our veins, helping the blood to circulate without impediment. Your heart will beat stronger, and you will have more endurance for any activity in or out of the gym. In addition, it will balance your arterial pressure.

2. Burning fat

This is why those seeking to lose weight do aerobic exercise. It has the ability to burn the fat that accumulates in different parts of your body. Depending on the routine or discipline you choose, you can drop a few sizes and easily shed pounds. This should also be coupled with a healthy diet and giving up unhealthy habits.

3. It makes you happy

Smiling women in workout clothing

It may seem strange, but another benefit of aerobic workout is that your mood will improve by the end of the routine. Why is this? This is due to our bodies releasing certain hormones like oxytocin, which makes us feel happy. Perfect after a hard day at the office.

4. Reducing cholesterol

Due to the fact that it keeps the arteries clear of fat, this kind of exercise can increase good cholesterol (HDL) and lower bad cholesterol (LDL). To achieve this effect, it is also vital to maintain a healthy diet.

5. Controlling blood sugar

This is another benefit of aerobic exercise related to blood circulation. People suffering from Type 2 diabetes will reduce blood sugar spikes with a workout routine to include cardio.

6. Avoiding viral illnesses

This kind of exercise also has positive effects on our immune systems. As a result, it is the best remedy against viral illnesses, such as the flu. Especially good in winter months.

7. Stronger bones and flexible muscles

No matter what your age, you can practice aerobic workouts and enjoy the benefits. After age 45 years, it is absolutely necessary. This because it promotes greater calcium absorption; helping you avoid fractures and gain more muscle flexibility.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.