Maintaining a healthy weight. People wishing to lose weight will need to ensure that they burn more calories than they consume, resulting in a caloric deficit. Aerobic exercise causes the body to burn calories for energy. It is a great way to push the body into a caloric deficit, leading to weight loss. However, the Health Guardian to reach a caloric deficit, will also most likely need to reduce the number of calories that they consume.
Controlling blood sugar levels. Keeping blood sugar levels under control is important for reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes. It is essential for people with diabetes to keep their blood sugar levels within a healthy range. High blood sugar can damage blood vessels and lead to heart disease.
Insulin is necessary for regulating blood sugar. Aerobic exercise can increase insulin sensitivity so that the body requires less insulin to control blood sugar levels. During exercise, the muscles also use glucose from the blood. In this way, the Health Guardian can use aerobic exercise to prevent blood sugar levels from rising too high.
Lowering blood pressure. High blood pressure puts stress on the blood vessels and heart. Over time, this can have serious consequences, such as increasing the risk of a heart attack or stroke.
Aerobic exercise can help keep blood pressure within a healthy range. A review of 391 trials in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that exercise is as effective as blood pressure medications in reducing high blood pressure. The Health Guardian can take control of blood pressure medications they may be using, and incorporate aerobic exercise as an additional tool in the “medicine cabinet” for lowering blood pressure.
Preventing and managing stroke. A stroke occurs when the blood supply to an area of the brain becomes obstructed. It can have serious and life-threatening consequences. Regular aerobic exercise reduces the risk of a stroke by keeping the blood vessels and the heart healthy.
It is also important for people who have had a stroke to stay as active as possible to support recovery and reduce the risk of another stroke. The Health Guardian will work with the Primary Care Team and Heart Specialist to identify the best way to build up activity and start exercising again after a stroke.
Increasing lifespan. Aerobic exercise has such a broad range of health benefits that it helps people live longer. Higher levels of aerobic activity reduce the risk of death, regardless of the intensity of the activity. Because of this, the Health Guardian should incorporate aerobic exercise in their health care plan.
Improving physical functioning. The ability to perform tasks for daily living is important in maintaining independence and well-being. Aerobic exercise improves the physical capabilities that are necessary for a person to function on a daily basis. Physical fitness also helps prevent falls and the resulting injuries.
Benefits for the Brain
Aerobic exercise also benefits the brain in the following ways:
Reducing the risk of dementia Regular aerobic exercise is one of the most effective methods of preventing Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia. Research has shown that people with higher levels of physical activity have a lower risk of cognitive decline and dementia.
Helping with symptoms of depression and anxiety Several clinical trials have found that aerobic exercise reduces symptoms in people with depression and anxiety disorders. Aerobic exercise also improves physical fitness, which may help prevent the onset of depression and anxiety disorders.
Enhancing cognitive performance. While aerobic exercise may delay cognitive decline in later life, it can also boost thought processes in children and adolescents. Several studies have found evidence to suggest that aerobic exercise and physical fitness have links with better grades at school and improved performance on cognitive tasks, such as memory tests.
Improving brain health. Aerobic exercise causes many biological processes that help the brain function. The authors of a recent review article concluded that aerobic exercise could: increase the size and function of key brain regions, such as the hippocampus, help the brain control responses to stress, reduce inflammation increase resistance to oxidative stress. These changes are likely to contribute to the benefits of exercise on mental health and cognition as well.
Here are the Big Wins:
- Lower risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, dementia and Alzheimer’s, several types of cancer, and some complications of pregnancy
- Better sleep, including improvements in insomnia and obstructive sleep apnea
- Improved cognition, including memory, attention and processing speed
- Less weight gain, obesity and related chronic health conditions
- Better bone health and balance, with less risk of injury from falls
- Fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety
- Better quality of life and sense of overall well-being
So what are you waiting for? Let’s get moving!