Exercise is beneficial for everyone, but it’s essential to know which type of workout will benefit your fitness objectives. Understanding the distinctions between aerobic and anaerobic exercise will enable you to get a balanced routine that’s ideal for your body.
Aerobic exercise refers to any activity that uses oxygen as its primary energy source, such as running, swimming, dancing and most aerobic classes offered at commercial gyms.
1. Aerobic Exercises Increase Your Heart Rate
Aerobic exercises, also referred to as cardiovascular exercise, raise your heart rate by stimulating the body to pump oxygen-rich blood into working muscles. This is essential for improving overall health.
Typically, it is best to exercise at an intensity level that places your heart rate between 60% and 80% of its maximum heart rate (this depends on age). To determine the correct level of aerobic exercise for you, observe how it feels while performing various types of activities.
If you find it easy to carry on a conversation while exercising, this could indicate moderate intensity training.
Aerobic activity is beneficial for your health as it reduces the risk of obesity, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, stroke and certain types of cancer. Furthermore, it improves overall fitness level and strength; increases bone density; and helps you maintain a healthy weight.
2. Aerobic Exercises Burn Fat
Aerobic exercises put your heart and lungs to work harder, stimulating them to pump more oxygen-carrying blood. In turn, aerobic exercises can improve cardiovascular health, increase endurance and strength levels, aid weight loss efforts, and more!
Exercise aerobically and your body burns a percentage of its energy sources: glucose (from carbohydrates) and fat. But the exact percentage depends on the intensity and length of time you exercise for.
Thus, while high-intensity anaerobic exercises burn a lot of carbohydrates, low-intensity aerobic exercise burns more fat.
Aerobic exercise is one of the best forms of physical activity for weight loss and maintaining a healthy body, according to Sarah Daly, certified fitness instructor and co-owner of Unique Fitness. Doing moderate-intensity aerobic exercises can lift your mood, burn off fat, and strengthen your heart and lungs.
3. Aerobic Exercises Increase Your Mood
Exercise is an effective way to lift your spirits, as it improves heart health, burns calories and produces endorphins. Not only that, but exercise also aids in sleep improvement as well as increasing energy levels.
Raglin emphasizes the importance of choosing activities you enjoy and find challenging, such as running or hiking. Finding enjoyment in what you do will likely make it more likely that you stick with your workouts, she states.
When it comes to your mental health, the type of exercise you do matters just as much as how much. Studies have indicated that women and older individuals require moderate physical activity for a positive effect on their moods; men and younger people require more intense workouts for similar effects.
Exercise not only lifts your mood, it can help you cope with stress. Studies have demonstrated that exercise reduces symptoms of anxiety, PTSD and depression in those suffering from mental illnesses. Furthermore, it enhances cognitive performance and lowers the risk of dementia.
4. Aerobic Exercises Help You Sleep Better
Aerobic exercise stimulates the release of melatonin, helping you fall asleep faster. It may also promote deeper sleep and reduce nighttime awakenings.
However, it is best to avoid exercising in the afternoon or evening if you need some shut-eye. Exercising too close to bedtime increases your core body temperature which could delay sleep onset and make it more likely that you’ll wake up during the night.
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends 30-60 minutes of moderate physical activity daily, such as walking, jogging or swimming. Choose a workout you enjoy doing and commit to it for maximum benefits.
A study from Northwestern University has demonstrated that regular aerobic exercise can significantly improve sleep quality for middle-aged and older adults with insomnia. These results suggest physical exercise could be a safe, effective, drug-free treatment option for this disorder.