Aerobic exercise: the health benefits of exercising

Aerobic exercise: the health benefits of exercising

Aerobic exercise: the health benefits of exercising
Aerobic exercise: the health benefits of exercising


Aerobic exercise (also known as cardio or cardiorespiratory exercise) is low to high intensity physical exercise that relies primarily on the generation of aerobic energy. “Aerobic” is defined as attach to, include, or require oxygen and refers to the use of oxygen to adequately meet energy requirements during exercise through aerobic metabolism. Aerobic exercises are performed by repeating light to moderate intensity activities for long periods of time. Aerobic exercise is better called "aerobic-only" because it is designed to be of low enough intensity that all carbohydrates are aerobically converted into energy via mitochondrial ATP production. Mitochondria are organelles that depend on oxygen to metabolize carbohydrates, proteins and lipids.


*** Why do you need aerobic exercise?


The average adult oxygen consumption will reach a level of around 35ml/kg/min during the maximum treadmill test (where you are asked to walk as hard as you can). This means that a person consumes 35 milliliters of oxygen for every kilogram of body weight per minute. It will help you get through the day, but elite athletes can reach values ​​of up to 90 ml/kg/min! How do they do this? They may have good genes, but they also train hard. And when they do, their body adapts. The good news is that our body also adapts to training.


*** What counts as aerobic exercise


Aerobic exercise consists of countless types. Generally, it is performed at a moderate level of intensity over a relatively long period of time. For example, running a long distance at a moderate speed is aerobic exercise, but sprinting is not. Playing individual tennis, with semi-continuous motion, is generally an aerobic activity, while two-on-one group golf or tennis, with short bursts of activity interspersed with more frequent breaks, may not be primarily aerobic. Thus, some sports are inherently "aerobic", while other aerobic exercises, such as fartlek or aerobic dance classes, are specifically designed to improve aerobic capacity and physical fitness. It is more common for aerobic exercise to involve the leg muscles, either primarily or exclusively. There are a few exceptions. For example, rowing for distances of 2,000 meters or more is an aerobic sport that uses many major muscle groups, including those in the legs, abdomen, chest and arms.


*** Aerobic vs Anaerobic


Aerobic exercise and fitness can be contrasted with anaerobic exercise, of which strength training and short walks are the most notable examples. These two types of exercises differ in the duration and intensity of muscle contractions, as well as in the way energy is generated in the muscles.


New research on the endocrine functions of contracting muscles shows that both aerobic and anaerobic exercise improve myokine secretion, with attendant benefits including new tissue growth, tissue repair, and numerous anti-inflammatory functions, which in turn reduce the risk of injury. various inflammatory diseases. Myocin secretion, in turn, depends on the amount of contracted muscle and the duration and intensity of the contraction. As such, both types of exercise produce endocrine benefits.


In almost all circumstances, anaerobic exercise is accompanied by aerobic exercise because less efficient anaerobic metabolism must supplement the aerobic system due to energy requirements that exceed the capacity of the aerobic system. Popular kettlebell exercises combine aerobic and anaerobic aspects.



*** Can aerobic exercise prevent diabetes, heart disease, obesity and weight control?


* Diabetes.


There is no more conclusive study on the role of healthy lifestyle changes (diet and exercise) in preventing diabetes than the Diabetes Prevention Program. This was a study of over 3,000 people at risk for diabetes who lost 12-15 pounds and walked 150 minutes per week (30 minutes per day) for three years. They reduced the risk of developing diabetes by 58%. This is important given that there are 1 million new cases of diabetes diagnosed each year. Aerobic exercise can also improve insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is a condition in which the body does not use insulin properly, and this condition can occur in people who do not have diabetes. Insulin is a hormone that helps cells in the body convert glucose (sugar) into energy.


Several studies have shown the positive effects of exercise on insulin resistance. In one case, 28 obese postmenopausal women with type 2 diabetes who did aerobic exercise for 16 weeks, three times a week, for 45 to 60 minutes, improved their insulin sensitivity by 20%.


* Heart disease


The list of studies showing that aerobic exercise prevents or reduces the incidence of cardiovascular disease is so long that it would take this entire article and maybe five more like this to review all the research. One of the most important is the oldest. In a study of more than 13,000 men and women, less fit people were shown to have significantly higher rates of cardiovascular disease than otherwise fit people - and in some cases the risk was twice as high. raised. Aerobic exercise works in many ways to prevent heart disease; Two of the most important are lowering blood pressure and aligning blood vessels (more flexible means they become less stiff and less likely to accumulate fat and block blood vessels). Results like this have been proven time and time again.


* Obesity and weight control.


Many scientists believe that aerobic exercise is the best indicator of weight maintenance. You can lose weight without exercising by reducing the calories you eat enough to burn more calories than you consume, but it takes a regular dose of exercise to maintain your weight. The amount is unclear, but somewhere between 30-40 minutes of vigorous exercise several times a week, to 45-75 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise five or more days a week may be okay. Your mileage will vary, so once you reach your desired weight, you should try different amounts of exercise until you find what works for you.


The American College of Sports Medicine recommends progressive overweight and obesity at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week, but for long-term weight loss, overweight and obese adults should exercise 200 to 300 minutes per week. moderate-intensity physical activity. These are general guidelines, and again you should experiment to see what works for you.


Scientists have recently become interested in the effects of aerobic exercise on cognitive function. Daily use of a running wheel has been shown in mice to stimulate the growth of new brain cells in as little as 12 days. Brain cells in humans cannot be studied directly, but what has been shown is that rates of dementia and Alzheimer's disease are lower in older people who exercise three times or more per week compared to older people who exercise less than three times per week. In some cases, the risk is 62% lower. Evidence is also mounting that active people perform better on tests of cognitive function such as memory and spatial relations tests than sedentary people.


*** Can aerobic exercise protect against cancer, osteoporosis and depression?


Perhaps the field of exercise science hasn't been studied more than the benefits of aerobic exercise. There is plenty of evidence to prove that regular aerobic exercise will improve your health and fitness and so much more. The following is a partial list of documented health benefits of aerobic exercise.


* Cancer prevention.


Colon cancer. Research has shown that physically active men and women have a 30-40% lower risk of colon cancer than inactive people. 30-60 minutes a day of moderate to vigorous physical activity appears to be needed to reduce risk, there is a dose-response relationship, meaning the risk decreases the more active you are. breast cancer . There is reasonably clear evidence that physically active women have a greater reduction in risk than inactive women. As with colon cancer, 75 to 150 minutes per day of moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity appears to be needed to reduce risk, and there is likely a dose-response relationship as well. Prostate cancer. Research is inconsistent on whether physical activity plays a role in preventing this cancer. Lung cancer . There are relatively few studies on physical activity and lung cancer prevention. Available data suggests that physically active people have a lower risk of developing lung cancer; However, it is difficult to calculate the risks of active and passive cigarette smoking as well as radon exposure. other cancers. There is little information on the role of physical activity in the prevention of other types of cancer.


* Treat cancer.


There is good news for people undergoing cancer treatment. In one study, aerobic exercise five days a week for 30 to 35 minutes for six weeks achieved 80% of maximum heart rate, reducing fatigue in women undergoing cancer treatment. In another study, 10 weeks of aerobic exercise at 60% of maximum heart rate for 30 to 40 minutes, four days a week, reduced depression and anxiety in cancer patients. Aerobic exercise isn't a panacea for cancer, but evidence suggests it can definitely help.


* Osteoporosis.


Osteoporosis is a disease characterized by low bone density, which can lead to an increased risk of fractures. The good news is that exercise can increase bone density or at least slow the rate at which it decreases in both men and women. It may not work for everyone. The exact amount and type of exercise needed to achieve benefits is unknown, but there is some evidence that it may help. In children, there is also good news. Active children appear to have greater bone density than inactive children, which may help prevent fractures later in life.


* The Depression.


Most of us who exercise regularly understand that exercise can improve our mood. There have been a number of studies examining the effects of exercise on depression. In one of the most recent studies, three to five days a week for 12 weeks of cycling or treadmilling for about 30 minutes per exercise reduced scores on a depression questionnaire by 47%. But exercise is not a substitute for treatment in the case of depression that makes a person unable to function (in which case medication and/or psychotherapy may be needed), but for milder types of depression there is evidence that can help.


*** Health Benefits.


Some of the recognized health benefits of regular aerobic exercise include:


  • Strengthen the muscles involved in breathing, to facilitate the movement of air in and out of the lungs.

  • Strengthen and expand the heart muscle, to improve its pumping efficiency and reduce resting heart rate, known as aerobic conditioning.

  • Improve blood circulation efficiency and lower blood pressure.

  • Increase the total number of red blood cells in the body and facilitate the transport of oxygen.

  • Improve mental health, including reducing stress and decreasing the incidence of depression, as well as increasing cognitive abilities.

  • A slight decrease in depression may also be observed if aerobic exercise is used as an additional treatment for patients with malignant hematoma.

  • Reduce the risk of diabetes (A meta-analysis, from several studies conducted, showed that aerobic exercise helps reduce hemoglobin A 1C levels in patients with type 2 diabetes.)

  • Reduce the risk of death from cardiovascular problems.


High-impact aerobic activities (like running or using a jump rope) can:


  • Stimulate bone growth.

  • Reduce the risk of osteoporosis for men and women


*** Body performance benefits.


In addition to the health benefits of aerobic exercise, there are several performance benefits:


  • Increased storage of energy molecules such as fats and carbohydrates in muscles, allowing for increased endurance.

  • Widening of blood vessels in muscles to increase blood flow to muscles.

  • Increase the rate at which aerobic metabolism is activated in the muscles, allowing more of the energy to be generated for intense exercise aerobically.

  • Improve muscle ability to use fat during exercise and maintain muscle glycogen.

  • Increase the speed of muscle recovery after high intensity exercise.

*** Neurobiological effects.


  • Improves the structural connections of the brain.

  • Increased gray matter density.

  • The growth of new neurons.

  • Improves cognitive function (cognitive control and different types of memory).

  • Improve or maintain mental health.


*** Negatives.


Some of the disadvantages of aerobic exercise include:


  • Overtraining injuries such as high impact repetitive exercises such as long distance running.

  • It is not an effective way to build muscle.

  • Not an effective type of fat loss unless used consistently.


The health and performance benefits, or exercise effect, require that the duration and frequency of exercise exceed a certain minimum. Most exercise organizations suggest doing at least twenty minutes at least three times a week.


What is the difference between burning fat and burning muscle?

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