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November 16, 2011

Aerobic Exercise: Helpful Tips

Aerobic Exercise and Running

The More Fit the Longer is Life Expectancy

People who are more fit tend to live longer and not only that, but live more productive lives.  One of the best ways to improve your fitness is to perform aerobic exercise.  There are many types of aerobic exercises to consider.  But first, aerobic exercise is any activity that involves moving the larger muscles in a rhythmic and continuous fashion.

General Advise for Aerobic Exercise

  • Make it enjoyable: Since aerobic exercise should be done 3 to 5 days a week, pick exercises that you find enjoyable.
  • Exercise for 30 to 60 minutes 3 to 5 days a week.  2 or 3 smaller 10-15 minute sessions can be done for convenience.
  • Be sure to spend 5 to 10 minutes warming up before exercise and 5 to 10 minutes cooling down afterwards
  • Stay well hydrated.
  • Have some way to gauge the intensity of your exercise.  You should be able to carry on a conversation while exercising in your so called aerobic zone.  Know your heart rate zone or training heart rate.

Types of Aerobic Exercise

There are many types of aerobic exercises to choose from so there should be no problem finding something you like to do.  Some activities do not require any specific skill and can be performed at low intensity.  Other exercises are more vigorous and should be performed once an average level of fitness has been achieved.  Some exercises require more skill, and others exercises represent recreational sports.

  • Low Intensity Exercises:  include walking, leisure cycling, slow-dancing, and water aerobics.
  • Moderate Intensity Exercises:  include running, rowing, spinning, elliptical, and stairclimbing to mention a few.
  • Higher Levels of Skill:  include swimming, skating, cross country skiing, step aerobics.
  • Recreational Sports:  include tennis, basketball, soccer, raquetball, downhill skiing.

For the Beginner

Consider starting with a walking program gradually increasing the pace at which you walk and either the distance or length of time of your exercise sessions.  Stationary cycling can also be done in the same manner allowing for some variety.  Stationary cycling is usually easier on the joints for those with musculoskeletal problems and arthritis.

Average Level of Fitness

Once you achieved an average level of fitness you can begin to perform aerobic exercise at moderate intensity.  Stationary cycling can be continued at higher levels of intensity and walking can make way for running.  Elliptical training and stairclimbing can also be performed allowing for even more variety with your workouts.

Advanced Aerobic Exercises

Assuming you have no heart disease and and have achieved even better than an average level of fitness more advance exercises can be added to your program.  These require more skill but can be more enjoyable, and also provide additional health benefits.  More advanced exercises usually lead to better balance and sometimes involve exercising with others so that there is more social interaction.

The real key to aerobic exercise is to simply get started.  Start somewhere and see where it takes you – on that path towards better fitness, better health.  Live Young!

See related articles.

“Calculating Your Target Heart Rate”

“Exercising 15 Minutes Daily, Not Quite”

“Exercise Your Way to Losing Weight Fast”

“Fat Burning Exercises: High Intensity Interval Training”







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Dr. Joe Jacko

Dr. Joe is board certified in internal medicine and sports medicine with additional training in hormone replacement therapy and regenerative medicine. He has trained or practiced at leading institutions including the Hughston Clinic, Cooper Clinic, Steadman-Hawkins Clinic of the Carolinas, and Cenegenics. He currently practices in Columbus, Ohio at Grandview Primary Care. Read more about Dr. Joe Jacko

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