Aerobic Exercise Might Be A Miracle Drug In Disguise

 

A growing body of research suggests that when we commit to regular workouts that raise our heart rate and get us moving and sweating for a sustained period of time, magical things happen to our body and brain.

 

Aerobic exercise is any activity that gets your blood pumping and large muscle groups working. It’s also known as cardiovascular activity.  Regardless of age, weight or athletic ability, aerobic exercise is good for you.

 

To reach aerobic fitness, a person must engage in continuous activity like jogging, walking, cycling, stair climbing, rowing, or swimming at an intensity level you can maintain for at least 30 minutes, three to seven days per week.  The result is we think more clearly, feel better overall, and protect ourselves against some of the cognitive decline that occurs with age.

 

Want an all-natural way to lift your mood, improve your memory, and protect your brain against the decline that comes with aging?  Overall, research suggests that aerobic exercise has a unique capacity to exhilarate and relax, to provide stimulation and calm, to counter depression and dissipate stress.

 

Exercises that get your heart pumping and sweat flowing — known as aerobic exercise, or “cardio”— have significant and beneficial effects on the brain and body, according to a wealth of recent research.  

Aerobic Exercise Benefits

Aerobic Exercise Improves Cardiovascular Efficiency

Aerobic exercise strengthens your heart and helps it more efficiently pump blood throughout the body.  During aerobic exercise, you'll breathe faster and more deeply. This maximizes the amount of oxygen in your blood.

 

Your heart will beat faster, which increases blood flow to your muscles and back to your lungs.  A stronger heart also pumps blood more efficiently, which improves blood flow to all parts of your body.

 

As a result of aerobic exercise, your heart and lungs don’t have to work nearly as hard to take in oxygen, convert it, and deliver it to your body.  Moreover, regular aerobic exercise will also help you achieve your healthy target heart rate during exercise.

 

Aerobic workouts, especially swimming, train your body to use oxygen more efficiently, a practice that gradually reduces your resting heart rate and your breathing rate — two important indicators of cardiovascular health.  

 

Cardio exercise may even help reverse some heart damage from normal aging. As a side note, regular aerobic exercise also forces your body to create more blood vessels, thus increasing your circulation of blood.

Aerobic Exercise Helps Regulate Blood Sugar

Regular physical activity helps regulate insulin levels and lower blood sugar, all while keeping body weight in check.

 

In a study on people with type 2 diabetes, researchers found that any form of movement, either aerobic or anaerobic (anaerobic exercise is exercise requiring short bursts of high intensity, like weight training or sprinting), may have these effects.

 

Regular exercise helps keep you mobile and helps your body process sugars better, thus reducing the need for insulin or other diabetes medication.

 

Aerobic Exercise Strengthens The Immune System And Reduces Infection Risk

Aerobic exercise activates your immune system in a good way.  This may leave you less susceptible to minor viral illnesses, such as colds and flu plus it helps to reduce bacterial infections as well.

 

Regular and moderate aerobic exercise increases certain antibodies in the blood called immunoglobulins that ultimately strengthen the immune system.  There are actually several different ways in which aerobic exercise can reduce the risk of infection.

 

  • It causes you to breathe at an elevated rate.  Breathing fast leads to your lungs flushing out an increased amount of bacteria, viruses, and other things that can make you sick

 

  • When you exercise your body temperature rises.  Just like when your body creates a fever to kill bacteria, the increased temperature from exercising will also prevent bacteria and viruses from growing and developing.

 

  • Aerobic exercise causes your heart to pump more blood around your body. The white blood cells or antibodies in your blood that fight off disease and infection circulate around the body quicker when your heart rate is elevated. Therefore your antibodies can catch infections before they develop.

 

  • Aerobic exercise slows down the release of hormones that cause stress. It is shown that stress lowers your body’s ability to fight infection, thus less stress means less sickness.

 

  • The thymus is responsible for generating key immune cells called T cells. In healthy people, it begins to shrink starting around age 20, and T cell production also starts to drop off around that time. Aerobic exercise slows down thmus shrinkage.

Aerobic Exercise Improves Brain Power

One of the things that you may not have known about aerobic exercise benefits is that it can greatly affect your mental health.  Did you know that the brain starts losing tissue after you reach age 30?

 

Scientists have uncovered that aerobic exercise may slow this loss and improve cognitive performance. Aerobic exercise also keeps your mind sharp. Regular physical activity may help protect memory, reasoning, judgment and thinking skills (cognitive function) in older adults.

 

It may also improve cognitive function in children and young adults. It can even help prevent the onset of dementia and improve cognition in people with dementia.

 

Researchers still aren't sure why aerobic exercise appears to provide a boost to the brain, but some studies suggest it has to do with increased blood flow, which provides our minds with fresh energy and oxygen.  

 

One recent study in older women who displayed potential symptoms of dementia also found that aerobic exercise was linked with an increase in the size of the hippocampus, a brain area involved in learning and memory.  

 

Another reason might have to do with cardio's ability to help reduce levels of the body's natural stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol, according to a recent study in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science.

Aerobic Exercise Boosts Mood

Moving your body may also improve your mood.  Aerobic exercise may ease the gloominess of depression, reduce the tension associated with anxiety and promote relaxation.  It can also improve your sleep.

 

The reason aerobic workouts lift our spirits seems related to their ability to reduce levels of natural stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol, according to a recent study in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science.  Activities like running and swimming also increase overall blood flow and provide our minds fresh energy and oxygen — another factor that could help us feel better.

 

There is a large percentage of the population that suffers from things like anxiety, depression, and even low self-confidence.  It was previously thought that all of these things could only be fixed with drugs or psychiatric help, but that does not seem to be the case.  

 

Regular exercise can actually be quite an effective tool when it comes to curing anxiety or depression.  Studies have shown that this has something to do with a phenomenon that we call runner’s high.

 

Runner’s high is a feeling of elation and happiness that runners get after having exercised for a prolonged period of time. It is shown that aerobic exercise causes the brain to release a chemical called dopamine.  Dopamine plus a few other brain chemicals are feel-happy chemicals.

 

Of course, the fact that exercise helps to boost self-confidence has to do with the fact that you feel fitter and probably look better too.

Aerobic Exercise Keeps Your Bones Healthy

Keeping your bones healthy is a very important part of being fit. This is especially true for people who are getting up there in age and for people who already have bone and joint conditions such as osteoporosis.

 

As you perform weight-bearing aerobic exercises, your bones will produce more mass and that causes your bones to become denser, thus also stronger. Increasing the strength of your bones is great if you want to combat degenerative bone disease. Weight-bearing aerobic exercises, such as walking, help decrease the risk of osteoporosis.

Heart-pumping workouts appear to have a positive impact on your stomach and abdomen

A small study published in November 2017 suggests that cardio exercise changes the makeup of the microbes in our gut. Those microbes play a role in inflammation levels, which can be an early warning sign of illness.

The researchers had study participants exercise three to five times per week for six weeks, and observed increases in their concentrations of butyrate, a type of fatty acid that helps keep our guts happy by tamping down on inflammation and producing energy.  These are the first studies to show that exercise can have an effect on your gut independent of diet or other factors.

Yes Indeed - Aerobic Exercise Might Be A Miracle Drug In Disguise

 

As you can see, there are very many different benefits of aerobic exercise, and in fact, there are probably more than we have listed here.  Regular aerobic exercise will keep all the parts of your body in prime condition and will allow you to live a long and healthy life.

 

Aerobic exercise keeps your muscles strong, which can help you maintain mobility as you get older.  Exercise can also lower the risk of falls and injuries from falls in older adults. And it can improve your quality of life.

 

When you are just starting out with an exercise program or you aren't seeing results with your current routine, a personal trainer can give you the help you need.  Your trainer should provide you with workout routines customized to your needs and phsical potential, track your progress, and modify your workouts as needed to help you reach your goals.


Tags: Aerobic Exercise Benefits; exercise for weight loss, exercise for anti-aging, exercise for healthier heart, exercise to fight dementia

Aerobic Exercise Benefits

Aerobic Exercise Lowers Blood Pressure

Cardiovascular exercises are suggested alternative ways to lower blood pressure without medication.  High blood pressure is most often caused by a weak heart.

 

A weak heart has to pump and work much harder to deliver the same amount of blood around your body when compared to a stronger heart. This puts a lot of undue strain on the walls of your arteries, thus causing high blood pressure. The less your heart has to work to pump blood, the lower your blood pressure will be.

 

Another aerobic exercise benefit is that it boosts your high-density lipoprotein (HDL), the "good," cholesterol, and lowers your low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the "bad," cholesterol. This may result in less buildup of plaques in your arteries.

 

If you’re specifically looking to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, aim for 40 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise between 3 and 4 times each week. Your small blood vessels (capillaries) will widen to deliver more oxygen to your muscles and carry away waste products, such as carbon dioxide and lactic acid.

JASON DE LA CRUZ
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