Aerobics is an engaging and fun form of exercise that you can use to help your body stay fit and toned.
But recent research published in the journal Neurology has found some even more impressive benefits. Aerobic exercise appears to be a great way to increase the health and capabilities of your executive functions. This includes cognitive processes such as:
● Inhibition: the ability to suppress unwanted thoughts, impulses, or actions.
● Working memory: the ability to hold and manipulate information in your mind.
● Cognitive flexibility: the ability to adapt to changing task demands or shifting attention.
● Planning and problem solving: the ability to generate and implement plans to achieve goals.
● Task initiation: the ability to begin a task or activity.
● Self-monitoring: the ability to monitor one’s own performance.
● Organization: the ability to plan and prioritize tasks, manage time, and maintain a system for storing information.
● Mental set shifting: the ability to adjust to new rules or contexts.
● Sustained attention: the ability to maintain focus over an extended period of time.
● Self-control: the ability to regulate one’s own behavior and emotions.
What Is Aerobics?
Aerobics is an activity that combines low- to moderate-intensity activities with stretching and strength training exercises. It is generally designed to improve cardio-respiratory fitness, and can include activities like:
● Jumping rope
● Elliptical training
● High-intensity interval training (HIIT)
● Walking (at a brisk pace)
● Stair climbing
● Water aerobics
● Aerobic gymnastics
How Aerobics Can Benefit Your Brain Health
Aerobic exercise is known to increase oxygenation of the blood, which in turn helps to deliver essential nutrients and oxygen to the brain (in addition to the rest of the body). This helps to promote the growth of new cells, increase neural plasticity, elevate mood, and improve overall cognitive functioning.
As demonstrated by the recent research published in Neurology, aerobic exercise training is associated with improved brain health and increased cognitive function. They also found that aerobic activity is associated with increased cortical thickness, which is something that normally decreases with age and contributes to declines in cognitive functioning.
These beneficial effects were more pronounced with increasing age, suggesting that aerobic exercise may be especially powerful for older adults, and especially for those at risk for age-related cognitive decline.
Getting Started With Aerobics
Getting started with aerobics is fairly easy and straightforward. It can be done in a variety of ways, and many classes and resources are available if you are not sure what to do.
Here are a few extra tips to help you get started:
● Find an activity that you enjoy. Everyone has different preferences when it comes to how they like to stay active. You may need to explore a few different activities before you find something that works best for you.
● Start small. If you’re new to aerobics, start with shorter sessions and gradually increase the duration and intensity as you become more comfortable.
● Find a partner. Exercising with a friend or family member can make the experience more enjoyable and make it easier to stick to your routine.
● Set a schedule. Decide on a regular time to exercise and stick to it. This will help you make aerobics a part of your daily routine.
If you have any health concerns or limitations, make sure to check with your doctor before starting any new exercise program. They can help you determine which type of activity will be best for you and any modifications that may be needed.