9 Helpful Benefits Of Aerobic Exercise

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There are different types of exercise you can consider. Find out the benefits of doing aerobic exercise to see if it is for you.

You can describe aerobic exercise as lower-intensity cardiovascular workouts. A few aerobic exercise examples include jogging, cycling, swimming, etc. at a low speed.

For now, the research on the differences between these and cardiovascular anaerobic exercise examples is not perfect yet.

That means the benefits below include a lot of general points too.

1. Aerobic exercise can improve cardiovascular health

Aerobic exercise is basically the name for doing cardiovascular workouts at a somewhat slower pace.

These types of workouts will still engage your heart, lungs, and blood vessels more than typical daily activities.

In turn, this can make your cardiovascular system healthier or at least slow down its degradation that comes with time and not using it.

Because this reduces your risk of a variety of negative conditions, you can definitely say this is a benefit of aerobic exercise (1, 2, 3).

2. Aerobic exercise tends to involve a lower injury risk

This next point mostly applies when you compare doing a certain cardiovascular exercise at aerobic instead of anaerobic speeds.

Brusquer and more intense movements tend to involve a higher injury risk than doing the same activities at a slower pace.

In turn, you can say that aerobic exercise tends to involve a lower injury risk.

This can be especially useful for people who are relatively new to exercise and still need to strengthen their bodies before turning to intense workouts.

One important thing to note is that there are still many differences in this area between different aerobic exercise options.

Something like an elliptical machine tends to involve a lower injury risk than jogging on an uneven surface.

3. Aerobic exercise can help you lose weight

You can say that any way of moving more intensely can help you lose some weight.

This is because the movements burn more calories which makes it more likely you get to a point where you use more energy than you absorb from food.

That being said, cardiovascular workouts really stand out in how many calories they burn per minute during your exercise session.

Anaerobic levels of intensity even more so than aerobic ones.

One benefit of aerobic exercise in this area is that you can typically do it for longer amounts of time.

Sprinting more than 10 minutes per workout will be challenging whereas many people will be able to jog for a long time.

Keep in mind that you may still need to make changes in other lifestyle areas to hit your weight loss goals.

4. Aerobic exercise can improve your mood

The way you move your body can actually influence how positive your thoughts are and how good your mood is.

Aerobic exercise tends to be great for promoting the release of endorphins (4, 5, 6). These are so-called “feel-good hormones” because of the way they tend to influence mood.

Additionally, by improving your cardiovascular health and getting the other positive effects from aerobic exercise, you will reduce your risk of conditions that make you feel bad.

5. You may enjoy aerobic exercise more

Even if you know that running at fast speeds or pushing yourself on an exercise bike until you can’t continue can be more effective for things like burning calories, you may still prefer aerobic exercise.

Enjoying your workouts more is a nice benefit in itself but if you don’t like the exercise sessions you schedule, it becomes harder to actually follow your plan.

So if you are not a big fan of more cardiovascular workouts, doing aerobic exercise would be better than doing nothing.

6. Aerobic exercise can improve cognitive function

Something that some people may find surprising is that aerobic exercise can also improve your cognitive function for different reasons.

First of all, it can help reduce your risk of conditions like Alzheimer’s disease that involve cognitive decline (7).

Secondly, aerobic exercise tends to improve brain plasticity (8, 9, 10). In practice, this means learning things faster, being better able to see connections, and better memory.

7. Aerobic exercise can improve muscle endurance

Actually building muscle is one of the benefits of strength training but aerobic exercise is typically not challenging enough for this purpose.

That being said, aerobic exercise can still help you improve or preserve endurance in the main skeletal muscles you work.

This can make daily activities like walking around and climbing the stairs easier and safer to do.

8. Aerobic exercise can slow down aging measurements

You typically use age as how much time has passed since you were born. However, there are also “age” measurements that are based on physiological health factors (11).

Aerobic exercise can actually make some of these physiological factors progress more slowly than usual (12, 13, 14).

While these measurements are often not a perfect representation of reality either, it should not be a surprise that aerobic exercise tends to be helpful for living longer and healthier.

9. Aerobic exercise can improve sleep

Many people understand how important sleep is for their health, mood, and brain function but not everyone knows how to improve this area of their health.

If that applies to you, you can add aerobic exercise to your to-do list since it can benefit the quality and duration of your sleep (15, 16, 17).

One thing to note is that you preferably don’t want to do aerobic exercise too close to bedtime either. This can wake up your body and reduce your sleep quality and duration instead.

If you have the option to choose, you want to finish your aerobic exercise at least two hours before bedtime.

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Matt Claes founded Weight Loss Made Practical to help people get in shape and stay there after losing 37 pounds and learning the best of the best about weight loss, health, and longevity for over 4 years. Over these years he has become an expert in nutrition, exercise, and other physical health aspects.