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10 Benefits of Aerobic Exercise

The Found Team

Whether you’re just beginning a weight loss program or you’ve been working on your exercise and mental health for a while, aerobic exercise is one of your most powerful tools for overall health and heart health. Moving your body regularly can make the difference between sustained weight loss and struggles to maintain a healthy weight.

The benefits of aerobic exercise aren’t limited to weight loss. Reduced disease risk, better sleep, and even more graceful aging are some of the other perks you’ll get when you incorporate the recommended amount of cardio exercise into your daily life.

Aerobic exercise has specific recommendations for maximum results. If you’re ready to get moving and reap the benefits, keep reading to learn more about how aerobic fitness exercise impacts and benefits your body and mind.

What is Aerobic Exercise?

Aerobic exercise is any movement that makes your heart beat faster. You also breathe harder when you’re performing aerobic activities. Pushing your body in this manner causes a chain reaction. 

As you move your large muscle groups and body weight to exercise, the rest of your body follows suit:

  • You breathe faster and harder

  • The oxygen levels in your blood increase

  • Your heart beats more quickly, which pumps more blood to your muscles and lungs

  • Small blood vessels get wider so they can deliver oxygen more efficiently

  • Waste products are carried away from your muscles by the larger blood vessels

  • Your body releases feel-good endorphins, which alleviate pain

This process strengthens your heart, lungs, and muscles. Over time, you’ll find that exercise feels easier because your systems have adapted and your cardiovascular fitness has improved. 

There are two different types of aerobic exercise that you can perform. 

Moderate Aerobic Exercise

First, moderate aerobic exercise is any activity that raises your heart rate but doesn’t make it impossible for you to speak. Excellent moderate cardio exercises include:

  • Brisk walking

  • Light jogging

  • Easy bike riding

  • Gentle lap swimming

  • Water aerobics

  • Hiking

  • Doubles tennis

  • Mowing the lawn with a push mower

The CDC recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity at target heart rate for weight loss per week. On average, that looks like 30 minutes per day, 5 days per week.

Vigorous Aerobic Exercise

Vigorous aerobic exercises are those that cause your heart rate to increase significantly. When you’re performing a vigorous exercise, you won’t be able to speak more than a few words at a time. Some vigorous activities include:

  • Running

  • Intense lap swimming

  • Biking on hilly terrain

  • Singles tennis

  • Basketball

Because it’s more intense, you can get similar benefits to moderate exercise in less time. The CDC recommends at least 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week. However, you should begin with moderate intensity movements and slowly work your way up to harder sessions. This helps your body adjust and prevents injuries.

Perks of Regular Aerobic Exercise

It takes a significant commitment of both time and energy to exercise regularly. However, the positive effects of a consistent aerobic exercise routine are well worth it.

#1: Can Help You Lose Weight

Aerobic exercise plays a crucial role in your weight loss plan. Combining consistent movement with a well-rounded approach to nutrition, your mind and body . You’ll see this in two ways during your weight loss journey:

  • Initial boost – The biggest boost to weight loss from exercise occurs when you first get started. You’ll notice that you lose weight quickly when you first start exercising. As you lose weight, the speed at which the pounds fall off will slow down.

  • Increased fitness – Although you might not lose weight as quickly after the initial boost of adding exercise to your routine, you will continue to reap some weight loss benefits. As you exercise, you build muscle. Muscle is more metabolically active than fat, so you’ll burn more calories even when you’re not exercising. 

#2: Boosts Your Mood

You’ve probably heard of the runner’s high that people claim they feel after completing a tough race like a marathon. This is due to the surge of endorphins you receive when you exercise. The good news is you don’t have to run for hours to experience a positive boost in your mood. 

In fact, as little as 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity, such as walking or biking, can substantially improve your mood.

#3: Better Concentration and Focus

The nonscale benefits  of aerobic exercise don’t stop at mood. You’ll also improve your overall cognitive function when you exercise regularly. This means improvement in:

  • Concentration

  • Memory and recall

  • Reasoning

  • Problem-solving

Research has shown that aerobic exercise may reduce the risk of dementia and help slow cognitive decline by facilitating neuroplasticity in the brain.

#4: Contributes to a Healthy Cardiovascular System

Curious about how regular exercise improves cardiovascular function? When you exercise, your entire cardiovascular system has to work hard to keep you moving. Working the heart and lungs strengthens them. This reduces the likelihood that you’ll develop cardiovascular disease as you age. 

#5: Reduces Chronic Disease Risk

Along with heart disease, frequent aerobic exercise reduces your risk of other chronic illnesses, including hypertension and diabetes. 

  • Lower blood pressure – Exercise helps keep your blood pressure levels in check, even when you’re at rest. High blood pressure can put you at risk for heart attacks, strokes, kidney problems, and dementia.

  • Regulates blood sugar levels – Physical activity keeps your blood sugar levels regulated which lowers your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

In time, regular exercise may help reduce your reliance on medications to regulate these critical bodily functions.

#6: Better Cholesterol Management

High levels of low-density lipoproteins (LDL), or bad cholesterol, are definitively linked to heart disease. Exercise helps reduce your cholesterol levels by removing LDL from the bloodstream. The more you exercise, the more cholesterol is removed, thus reducing the likelihood of a heart attack or chronic cardiovascular disease.

#7: Strengthens Your Immune System

Moderate aerobic exercise can even make you less susceptible to pesky colds and other illnesses. When you’re more active, your body is better able to:

  • Fight infection due to the increase in production of lymphocytes

  • Reduce cortisol, or stress hormone, levels that lead to inflammation

  • Increase the number of immune cells circulating throughout the body

All of these lead to a stronger immune system that’s primed to fight infections when they attack. Furthermore, the less often you get ill, the more energy and strength you’ll have to continue working out and moving closer to a healthier you.

#8: Improves Sleep

Aerobic exercise can also improve the quality of your sleep with one caveat: it should be done at least two hours before bed or else you risk having trouble falling asleep. An analysis of three separate studies regarding sleep and adults over 40 showed that regular exercise improved sleep outcomes, even for those who previously reported having trouble sleeping.

Quality sleep is a critical component of good health. Without it, your body will suffer, including things like:

  • Cardiovascular system

  • Immune system

  • Endocrine system

In fact, poor sleep can even cause weight gain as many people find it’s difficult to make good food choices when they’re overly tired.

#9: Help You Age Gracefully and Healthfully

Because it improves so many of the markers of good health, aerobic exercise also helps you age well. Regular, moderate exercise has been shown to: 

  • Improve body function as you age

  • Decrease or minimize disability

  • Lessen the likelihood of falls

  • Prolong independent living

Regular exercise also staves off the decline in aerobic capacity that comes with age. Sedentary individuals may experience falling levels of functional aerobic ability at twice the rate as those who exercise frequently. 

#10: Easy and Affordable 

Finally, all you need for high-quality aerobic exercise is a pair of athletic shoes and some comfortable clothing—no gym or fancy equipment required. You can also fit cardio exercise in at any time throughout your day. You don’t need to complete all thirty  recommended minutes in one bout. If you’re crunched for time, break your workout into three, ten minute sessions. This can mean a quick walk before breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 

As you can see, even just moderate-intensity movement offers huge benefits to your overall health.

Balance Your Biology with Found 

Learn how exercise increases your metabolism and supports overall health. The benefits of aerobic exercise, specifically, are unquestionable, and they extend far beyond simply helping you lose weight. You’ll reduce your risk of chronic diseases, concentrate better, and even boost your immune system. .

At Found, we leverage your genetics, cutting-edge research, doctors’ advice, and prescription medications when needed, to balance your biology and assist you in your quest to reach your health goals. This involves combining diet, exercise, and medication to create a well-rounded personalized weight care program.

If you think Found might be the right choice for you, take our quiz today to find out if we can help.

Sources: 

CDC. How Much Physical Activity Do Adults Need? https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/adults/index.htm

PubMed. The Role of Exercise and Physical Activity in Weight Loss and Management. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24438736/

British Journal of Sports Medicine. Benefits from Aerobic Exercise in Patients with Major Depression: A Pilot Study. https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/35/2/114.short

Physiology & Behavior. Aerobic Exercise Improves Hippocampal Function and Increases BDNF in the Serum of Young Adult Males. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0031938411003088

Ahlskog, J. E., Geda, Y. E., Graff-Radford, N. R., & Petersen, R. C. (2011). Physical exercise as a preventive or disease-modifying treatment of dementia and brain aging. Mayo Clinic proceedings, 86(9), 876–884. https://doi.org/10.4065/mcp.2011.0252 

PubMed. Impact of Exercise Training on Cardiovascular Disease and Risk. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30837069/

Post Graduate Medicine. Health Benefits of Aerobic Exercise. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00325481.1991.11700983

PubMed. Differential Effects of Aerobic Exercise, Resistance Training, and Combined Exercise Modalities on Cholesterol. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24174305/

PubMed. Physical Exercise as a Tool to Help the Immune System Against COVID-19: An Integrative Review of the Current Literature. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7387807/

PubMed. Exercise and Sleep: A Systematic Review of Previous Meta-Analyses. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28276627/

PubMed. Health Benefits of Exercise in an Aging Society. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/3545119/

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