In my last post I talked about the benefits of anaerobic training (or interval training/HIIT etc.), so I felt it only makes sense to jump straight to the other end of the scale and shed some light on Aerobic training, what it is and how it can benefit you!
What is Aerobic Training?
Many of us know aerobic training as Cardiovascular conditioning (AKA “Cardio”) and probably rarely use the word aerobic, unless talking about the class our mum went to once a week in the 90’s! However, aerobic is the term used to describe this type of training, meaning “With Oxygen”. So, basically aerobic training, unlike anaerobic, is any type of training where our body uses oxygen as our energy source.
When we are moving our body in some form (for this example let’s say walking) for a continuous period of time, our breathing becomes deeper to increase the amount of oxygen entering our blood and our heart rate increases to ensure that the oxygenated blood flows to our muscles and lungs. This process helps to maintain our overall cardiovascular and respiratory health, hence why we often call it “Cardiovascular Conditioning”!
What counts as “Cardio”?
Surprisingly, a lot of things! I think we’ve got into a habit of thinking that training aerobically means running on the treadmill for an hour, which isn’t incorrect, but there are so many other (less mind-numbing – sorry!) options you can do instead. Below are some example of aerobic activities, however any type of activity which gets your blood pumping and uses your large muscle groups (legs, back, chest etc.) can be considered. And yes, that also includes cleaning!
- Walking or Running
- Cycling (indoor or outdoor)
- Team sports e.g. soccer, basketball, netball etc.
Benefits of Aerobic Training
- Improves cardiovascular health and endurance, by strengthening the heart muscles which helps it pump more blood efficiently around the body. This will allow you to perform every day activities, and in time more advanced cardio, without feeling out of breath.
- Reduces health risks such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and obesity.
- Supports weight loss and regulation. Paired with a healthy diet, aerobic exercise can assist with regulating your weight as you are using large compound muscles to perform the movements, meaning you will be burning more calories, even at a moderate intensity. Win/win right!?
- Strengthens muscles and improves balance which helps reduce the risks associated with ageing such as falls.
- Boosts your mood. Aerobic exercise can be a great way to switch off from the stress of work or life and many people use it as a therapy of sorts for anxiety and depression. What’s great is the results are instant, even one short session of exercise can have a positive impact on your mood. Plus it can really improve your sleep, which we all know can have a huge impact on how we feel the next day!
- Strengthens the immune system by releasing more antibodies into the blood called immunoglobulins, which ultimately improve the immune systems function. Meaning you will have a greater chance of fighting off cold and flu type illnesses (which is just what we need right now!).
So, “cardio” sounds pretty good right now right?! Hopefully you’re feeling a bit motivated to give it a go, but if you would like some more personalised advice or programming, please reach out! And as always, if you have any questions about the above, please drop me a comment below.