Aerobic exercise is any type of cardiovascular conditioning which comprises activities like brisk walking, swimming, running, or cycling.
According to most experts, aerobic exercise is considered the most significant aspect of fitness.
Several types of research over the years have shown that individuals who perform an exercise regularly tend to live longer with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer.
Aerobic fitness is attained when the cardiovascular and muscular system of the body release the required energy that is sufficient to sustain the activities requiring enormous muscle groups for a long time. A pre-requisite for aerobic fitness involves continuous physical fitness like cyclic, jogging, walking, swimming, stair climbing, rowing, running or gardening. Each activity should not be less than thirty minutes for at least three days per week.
People that are just starting are advised to begin slowly. With time, they could achieve a higher intensity and maintain more time. Aerobic exercises come with several amazing benefits too many to mention. However, this post will touch a significant number of upsides of physical activity.
During this exercise, large muscles are built up in your arms, hips, and legs. Besides, your breathing becomes faster and deeper, enabling the oxygen in your blood to be maximized. You will notice a faster heartbeat, which ensures increased blood flow to your muscles as well as lungs.
Also, more oxygen will be released to your muscles, widening your capillaries. The expanded capillaries will enhance the removal of waste product like lactic acid and carbon dioxide.
More importantly, there are natural pain killers known as endorphins, which are usually released by the body. They improve the well being of the body.
When you embark on regular aerobic exercise, your body will make an adjustment that will boost its health and make it more functional. The optimum benefit will be achieved when an individual continues with this exercise at the right intensity and duration.
In this context, the benefit of aerobic exercise will be classified under two broad categories which are fitness and health. There is a link or connection between these categories and it is important to note that almost every form of aerobic exercise helps to achieve these categories.
Many people are motivated to stay active as a result of an enormous sense of well-being which they derive from it. With aerobic exercise, your physical health physique and sex life are improved.
Besides keeping people fit, aerobic exercise relieves stress, enhances weight loss, and stimulates the immune system.
Aerobic exercise is good for everyone, irrespective of their athletic ability, weight or age. This is because they will become fitter and stronger as their bodies adapt or get used to it.
Furthermore, it makes you energetic all day, sleeps better at night and sharpens your memories.
It is a powerful recommended medication to people with common mental health challenges.
Aerobic exercise positively influences mood, self-esteem, depression, and anxiety. Whether you engage in rigorous or mild exercise, the benefits are there for you to enjoy.
Several studies have shown that aerobic exercise can effectively improve depression just the same way as antidepressant medication does. An additional benefit is that it has no side effects. The T H. Chan School of Public Health recently carried out a study in which it was found that 15 minutes of running or 60 minutes trekking daily contribute to a 26% reduction of major depression (1, 2).
Further research has also indicated that regular exercise prevents a person from relapsing (3, 4). Research has also proved that four months of regular exercise is equivalent to antidepressant medications for people that are not previously exercising (5).
The fact remains that aerobic exercise is a powerful depression fighter due to its action in the human brain, such as enhancing neural growth, minimizing inflammation and creating new activity patterns that result in calmness and general well-being. Aerobic exercise also releases endorphins into the human brain, making an individual’s spirit become energized (6).
Another amazing point here is that aerobic exercise can help people by distracting them from negative thoughts that depress them.
Aerobic exercise significantly impacts the mood. While it is true that exercise serves as an antidepressant for the depressed; it can also keep people away from being depressed again.
The National Center for Biotechnology and Information conducted a pilot study in 2017 in which the effect of aerobic exercise training on mood in subjects with a traumatic brain injury was evaluated (7). Ten participants, both men and women, were involved. In the course of the exercise, a careful observation was made of the participants’ long-term mood and acute mood responses.
At the twelfth week of the exercise program, an optimum improvement in the overall mood of the participants was observed, although improvement was noticed from the fourth week of the training.
In 1988, the American Psychological Association researched the severe effect of aerobic exercise on mood (8). The study involved 32 female medical students ranging between 18 and 23 years of age. They were made to undergo two eight-minute trials of low-intensity exercise and another two eight-minute trials of high-intensity exercise. While some high and low exercise trials were conducted with music, others were accompanied by a metronome.
The experiment assessed the mood of the participants before and after each trial. It was discovered that a negative mood changes along with tension, fatigue, and anxiety with high-intensity exercise while a positive mood is reached by enhancing vigor and exhilaration from low- intensity exercise.
There are several positive links between exercise and mood. Among them are:
– It prevents loneliness by making you be with people. A smile on your face in the process can even positively impact your mood.
– It increases serotonin, a chemical in the brain that helps to regulate mood and sleep as well as decreasing immune system chemicals that can aggravate depression.
Any physical activity that makes you move around can help improve your mood.
Aerobic exercise is an effective and natural remedy for anxiety. Studies have shown that anxiety shows fewer symptoms in people who perform regular exercise than those that do not (9). The amazing chemicals (endorphins), which it releases, makes it perform the roles of stress and tension reliever, physical and mental energy booster and contribute to the overall well-being of people.
Have you ever noticed the sensation experienced when you hit your feet on the ground? What about your breathing pattern or the sensation experienced when the wind blows across your skin? By concentrating on how your body feels during exercise, you will be able to interrupt your worries while your physical condition will be greatly improved.
An effective to break the stress cycle is by embarking on aerobic exercise. An individual, who is under stress may feel the tension in the muscles, especially across the face, shoulder and neck region. This may result in headaches and pain in the back. Stress can also cause a pounding pulse, chest pain, muscle cramps, frequent urination, stomach ache, insomnia or heartburn. These physical symptoms caused discomfort and worries, which cause more stress and an effective method of breaking this cycle is via exercise.
Besides, the immune system receives a boost while the impact of stress is reduced.
Apart from that, aerobic exercise restores abnormal sleep patterns, thereby preventing brain damage. Therefore, it enhances a good night sleep and increases an individual’s energy level.
Aerobic exercise can encourage your sense of self-worth, especially when it becomes a habit, making you feel stronger and more powerful. You are delighted with your outlook while you feel a sense of achievement whenever you achieve some exercise goals.
Research has shown that twelve weeks of aerobic exercise training improves self-esteem (10). It boosts your confidence, even as you encounter challenges and accomplish goals. You are also happy with yourself.
Besides, aerobic exercise increases your workout, thereby releasing more energy to you. This is possible due to the increase in your heart rate.
We all experience hazy memories with age. Some aging and degenerating diseases tend to affect brain cells. An example of this disease is Alzheimer’s. Aerobic exercise in this regard will protect the brain against a decline in mental reasoning, which starts manifesting at 45 years of age (11, 12). It does this by boosting the chemical in the brain which prevents degeneration of the hippocampus (an essential part of the brain that is responsible for both memory and learning).
Exercise can help in addiction control by distracting alcohol or drug addict. While this may be within the short term, an addict will be able to de-prioritize cravings. A lot of alcoholics find extremely difficult to sleep without drinking. Aerobic exercise can resolve this challenge by restoring the body to normalcy.
This article has established the efficacy of exercise in decreasing symptoms of depression and improving mood and self-esteem. The many benefits of aerobic exercise have been enumerated. It is recommended that you consider regular aerobic exercise so that the entire body can be kept in prime condition to live a long and healthy life.
You are not compelled to do your entire daily exercise at once. You can break them into a small amount of physical activity to be achieved throughout a day. Instances of these are substituting the use of an elevator for using the staircase, parking a little farther away from your destination and trekking the rest, you may even consider biking to work if it is a considerable distance.