Personal trainers and fitness experts have long been pushing the addition of aerobic exercise into most exercise training plans, pointing to its ability to help blast fat and improve the overall effectiveness of your workouts.
However, most of us are unaware of just how many benefits this exercise can bring into our lives! Considered the ‘closest thing to a miracle drug’ in some healthy living circles, the addition of aerobic exercise to an individual’s daily routine has been connected with benefits both physically and mentally in the body.
Fitness guidelines spelled out by both the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association recommend that individuals aim to include 30 minutes of moderately intense aerobic exercise into their fitness routines five days a week, totaling 150 minutes per week. During these exercises, it is recommended that you aim to reach and sustain 60 to 80% of your maximum heart rate in order to experience the benefits that the exercises have to offer.
Dan G. Tripps, Ph.D., director of the Swedish Medical Center Cardiology Performance Services and Seattle University Center for the Study of Sports and Exercise explains, “Cardiovascular disease remains the number one cause of death in America. Associated with physical inactivity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and smoking, cardiovascular disease accounts for approximately 36% of all U.S. deaths. There is, however, a remarkably easy remedy. Physical activity continues to be the most effective way to combat coronary heart disease. Aerobic exercise improves the fitness of the heart and lungs. Yet surveys show that nearly one-third of Americans are not active at all despite these benefits.”
In addition to the many cardiovascular benefits of adding aerobic exercise into your routine, experts are now pointing to additional research, revealing even more incredible benefits associated with this type of exercise.
In a 2001 study investigating the connection between aerobic exercise and mental health, researchers concluded that the inclusion of even lower intensity aerobic activities can have a positive impact on our overall mental health. Participants of the study were patients who had experienced a major depressive episode previously. These participants were asked to walk on a treadmill, followed by an interval training program, totaling 30 minutes a day for a 10-day period, while researchers gathered data assessing the state of their mental health. The study found that at the end of the 10-day period participants were experiencing improved moods and a decrease in symptoms of their depression.
Another study introduced the potential use of aerobic exercise to counteract the symptoms of cognitive impairment often reported by cancer patients. Participants in the study were asked to wear an accelerometer for a period of 7 days while completing a number of questionnaires and neuropsychological tests measuring both their cognitive function as well as the level of fatigue that they were experiencing. Researchers concluded that patients who took part in aerobic exercise throughout the week were less tired, possessed higher energy levels and were more successful in completing the quizzes they were tasked to complete.
Next time you are working to lay out your fitness routine or considering how to go about losing weight, it is recommended that you try adding some aerobic exercise to your day! It could be as simple as walking your dog or swimming laps in the pool, however, the benefits are tremendous!