Any activity that makes you breathe deeply and boosts your heart rate is aerobic exercise, and it’s something almost anyone can do, regardless of age or athletic ability. Here are 7 reasons why you should be doing it.
What’s in it for you?
- It can help you lose weight. People who include short bursts of exercise in their daily routines lose weight and are more likely to keep it off than people who maintain traditional 45-minute, three-times-a-week exercise programs.
- You can reduce your risk of serious illness. As well as enjoying increased energy and vitality, you’ll derive permanent benefits, including a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and cancer.
- When you’re really pushing your boundaries, you’ll experience runner’s high – the temporary natural “high” runners and elite athletes experience. Vigorous aerobic exercise releases “feel-good” brain chemicals called endorphins, which are the body’s natural opiates.
- You’ll slow the aging process. Some effects of aging will slow down because aerobic exercise helps counter the inevitable decline in maximum oxygen consumption that occurs with the passing years. This can be seen even in people in their seventies and eighties.
- Exercising outdoors gives you a chance to appreciate the natural world. Tree-lined streets and local parks are pleasant environments in which to walk or run, and weekend walking or hiking is an ideal way to relax and reconnect with the landscape around you.
- You’ll beat the blues. Regular moderate aerobic exercise is helpful in treating and preventing mild depression and it doesn’t have the side effects that can go with taking prescription drugs.
- You’ll save money and help the environment. Walking, running or cycling instead of driving or catching public transport will save you money and cut down on fuel emissions at the same time, all while you become fitter.
Deciding where to start
There are endless ways for you to engage in aerobic exercise. Here are just a few of the options that you can consider.
+ Cycling: This is a good exercise for developing the heart and lungs. However, unless you have access to safe cycling paths, being on the road involves a higher risk of serious injury.
+ Gardening: Working in the garden can be a gentle or vigorous form of exercise, depending on how you approach it.
+ Hobbies: Rollerblading, skateboarding, dancing and ice-skating are all fun activities that provide a good workout for the heart, lungs and muscles.
+ Swimming: This works all the major muscle groups with little risk of injury. If possible, swim in fresh water or the sea to avoid the chlorine in public pools.
+ Walking and running: These are two of the most convenient, inexpensive and efficient ways of keeping fit.
+ Group activities: If you don’t enjoy exercising on your own, try a team sport like basketball or join an aerobics class.
When it comes to aerobic exercise, there are major benefits and endless options. The key is to commit to an active lifestyle and get moving!