Every day, your body fights a battle of balance between calories consumed and calories burned. You know the drill -- when you consume more than you burn, the numbers on the scale start creeping up. Luckily, it's aerobic activity to the rescue. With daily cardio activity, you can reset your body's balance for optimum weight control. Aerobic exercise makes up a portion of any healthy workout routine, so put down the doughnut and hop on the treadmill to keep the scale -- and your body -- balanced.
Feel the Burn
One of the main benefits of aerobic activity is the fact that it can torch calories. And, since the balance of calories burned and calories consumed dictates whether you lose, gain or maintain your weight, you need to burn calories on a regular basis. Chew on this: A 160-pound woman burns over 500 calories with an hour of high intensity aerobics. Even if you take it easy with a brisk walk, you still burn over 300 calories per hour. Adding aerobic activity into your daily routine helps you manage your weight -- along with healthy dietary practices, of course.
Bye, Bye, Belly!
Women tend to struggle with belly fat. It's easy to gain and difficult to shed. But aerobic activity can be your saving grace when it comes to burning belly fat. A study published in a 2011 issue of the "American Journal of Physiology, Endocrinology and Metabolism" found that when added to a workout routine, aerobic activity burned more belly fat than just strength training. It's proof that hitting the weights alone might not be enough to help you manage weight in your trouble spots. Instead, adding 30 minutes of aerobic activity each day could make a real difference -- ready for swimsuit season?
Appetite Be Gone
Getting a case of the munchies -- the all-day munchies -- can seriously derail your diet or weight management efforts. But if you add aerobic exercise to your regular routine, you'll get the added benefit of a natural appetite suppressant. A study published in a 2009 issue of the "American Journal of Physiology -- Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology" noted that runners had lower appetites that their strength training counterparts after a workout. While you'll still need to eat properly to help fuel your workouts, you may find yourself veering to the vending machine less often, thanks to aerobic exercise.
While aerobic exercise can definitely help you manage your weight, it's only a piece of the weight control puzzle. You'll also need to add strength training at least three times per week to help tone up and increase your metabolism through muscle mass. A balanced workout program also includes flexibility training to help increase balance and ability to exercise. With all three types of exercise covered, weight control becomes less of a daily fear and more of a daily feat.
- MayoClinic.com: Exercise for Weight Loss: Calories Burned in One Hour
- American Journal of Physiology -- Endocrinology and Metabolism; The Effects of Aerobic versus Resistance Training on Visceral and Liver Fat Stores, Liver Enzymes and HOMA from STRRIDE AT/RT: A Randomized Trial ; Cris A. Slentz, et al.; August 2011
- American Journal of Physiology -- Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology; Influence of Resistance and Aerobic Exercise on Hunger, Circulating Levels of Acylated Ghrelin, and Peptide Yy in Healthy Males; D.R. Broom, et al.; November 2009
Kay Ireland specializes in health, fitness and lifestyle topics. She is a support worker in the neonatal intensive care and antepartum units of her local hospital and recently became a certified group fitness instructor.