[Written by Peter Nielsen].
Aerobic exercise pumps oxygenated blood from the heart to working muscles. To accomplish that, it stimulates the heart and breathing rates throughout your exercise session. As a rule aerobic exercise can be light-to-medium intensity activities that can be performed for extended periods of time, such as walking, jogging or biking. Whatever your age, weight or athletic ability, aerobic activity is a health booster that gains efficiency as your body adapts and gets stronger and fitter!
What are the benefits offered by aerobic exercise?
Reduces Fat: A study published in the American Journal of Physiology, Endocrinology and Metabolism found that vigorous aerobic exercise such as jogging or brisk walking beats weight or resistance training for reducing belly and visceral fat.
Increases Stamina: Increased stamina improves your overall physical health and the power to endure disease, fatigue, and illness.
Protects the Brain: A new study from the University of Washington School of Medicine and Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System finds that regular aerobic exercise can protect the brain and even improve cognitive performance in older adults showing signs of mental decline. It’s important to note that the study found that memory gains may take 6 months or longer to emerge.
Boosts the Immune System: Aerobic exercise activates your immune system. This leaves you less susceptible to minor viral illnesses, such as colds and flu. Aerobic exercise may accomplish this by flushing bacteria out from the lungs, and may even flush out cancer-causing cells by increasing output of wastes, such as urine and sweat. It also sends antibodies and white blood cells through the body at a faster rate, allowing them to detect illnesses earlier than they might normally. Additionally, the temporary rise in body temperature may inhibit bacterial growth, allowing the body to fight the infection more effectively.
Strengthens Bones: In a new study, step aerobics offered the greatest gains in leg, spine, and heel bone density, while hip bones health was heightened most with weight training.
Reduces Health Risks: Aerobic exercise reduces the risk of many conditions, including obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, stroke and certain types of cancer.
Strengthens the Heart: Regular aerobic exercise increases the heart’s efficiency leading to a reduced risk of developing heart disease. When a person is aerobically active, more capillaries develop as the oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange between blood and cells increases. If for any reason an artery is damaged or blood flow is blocked, the blood can easily be rerouted to deliver the necessary oxygen.
Increases Good Cholesterol, Burns the Bad: Research shows that moderate aerobic exercise increases the number of HDLs in the bloodstream and reduces the number of LDLs by increasing lipid metabolism. Like fat, cholesterol is a lipid that can be oxidized, or broken down, for energy.
Supports Mental Health: Aerobic exercise relieves depression, and promotes relaxation. Exercise also slows down the release of stress-related hormones. Remember, if you’ve been inactive for a long time or if you have a chronic health condition, talk to your doctor before you start. Begin slowly and build each day.Try walking five minutes in the morning and five minutes in the evening and add a few minutes each day. Pick up the pace and soon you’ll be enjoying all the benefits of regular aerobic activity!
As always, check with your doctor before starting any exercise routine!
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