Aerobic exercise is essential for a good cardiovascular workout and is also a great calorie-burner. As such, aerobic exercises tend to be the most popular and widely practiced of all fitness options. Whether it’s a brisk bike ride or a trip on the treadmill, aerobic exercise is recommended for about two to two-and-a-half hours every week. The benefits of aerobic exercise include:
Weight control. According to the Mayo Clinic, “One of the best ways to lose body fat is through steady aerobic exercise — such as brisk walking — for at least 30 minutes most days of the week.” While a good diet that contains healthy calories appropriate to your body type and activity level is the first step to weight loss, it must be accompanied by sufficient exercise. The more aerobic exercise you do (within your physical limits; you should never overwork), the more calories you’ll consume every day and therefore the faster you’ll shed unwanted weight.
Improved circulation. Aerobic exercise improves both vascular and lymphatic circulation. In simpler terms, this means that the oxygen transport system in the blood stream becomes more efficient, and excess fluids in the body are not allowed to pool in the extremities and fatty areas such as the belly. This means less retained fluid and the “puffiness” that comes with it, as well as cleaner blood and better access to your body’s energy potential. In addition, toxins in the blood stream (such as the lactic acid produced during anaerobic activities such as weight lifting) are more efficiently removed to improve overall feelings of well-being and reduce post-exercise muscle soreness.
Heart health. The American Heart Association states, “Regular aerobic physical activity … plays a role in both primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease.” Aerobic exercise helps strengthen the heart while regulating levels of cholesterol. This exercise helps in the reduction of “bad cholesterol” while increasing “good cholesterol,” with an overall benefit of lowering the risk of coronary artery disease.