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Health & Wellness

Aerobic Exercise

What You Need to Know: 

Aerobic exercise is any activity that uses large muscle groups, can be maintained continuously, and is rhythmic in nature.

Benefits

  • Prevent and manage certain diseases: by reducing risk of coronary artery disease, reduce risk of developing hypertension, improve blood fats, reduce risk of stroke, reduce risk of developing cancers such as breast, colon, prostate, and endometrial, reduce risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and ward off viral illnesses
  • Manage disease and conditions: by lowering blood sugar if you have diabetes, manage your weight, strengthen your heart muscle, improve blood flow to all parts of the body, relieve chronic muscle pain, boost your mood, and build strong bones
  • Feel better and enjoy life more: by increasing your stamina and manage your stress
  • Stay active and independent as you get older: maintain your mobility, stay independent, and extend your lifespan

Examples

  • Swimming
  • Bicycling
  • Aerobic Dance
  • Jump Rope
  • Step Class
  • Running
  • Inline Skating
  • Jogging
  • Walking
  • Elliptical
  • Stair Climbing
  • Rowing
  • Cross Country Skiing
  • Fitness Walking

How Your Body Responds

  • Your body takes in more oxygen
  • Pump blood faster and more forcefully
  • Increases the diameter and number of small blood vessels
  • Avoid overheating
  • Releases endorphins

Aerobic Exercise Guidelines

For most effective aerobic exercise:

  • Frequency: 3-5 days/week
  • Duration: 30-45 minutes of continuous aerobic activity
  • Intensity: 60-90% maximum heart rate

Sample Beginner Program

For a beginner—times do not including warm-up and cool-down.

WEEK 1: 15 minutes, 2 days

WEEK 2: 15 minutes, 3 days

WEEK 3: 20 minutes, 3 days

WEEK 4: 25 minutes, 3 days

WEEKS 5 & 6: 30 minutes, 3 days

WEEKS 7 & 8: 30 minutes, 4 days

WEEKS 9 & 10: 30 minutes, 5 days

Sample Jog-Walk Program

Goal: to run continuously for 20 minutes

WEEK

RUN

WALK

REPEAT

1

30 sec.

90 sec.

10

2

60 sec.

60 sec.

10

3

90 sec.

90 sec.

7

4

2 min.

1 min.

7

5

3 min.

1 min.

5

6

4 min.

1 min.

4

7

6 min.

1 min.

3

8

9 min.

1 min.

2

9

10 min.

1 min.

2

10

12 min.

1 min.

2

11

20 min.

0

1

Sample Intermediate Walking Program

3-5 days/week

Week

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

 20

Miles

2

2.25

2.25

2.5

2.75

2.75

2.75

3

3

3

3

3

3.25

3.25

3.25

3.5

3.5

3.5

3.5

3.5

MPH

3

3

3.25

3.25

3.25

3.5

3.5

3.5

3.75

3.75

4

4

4

4

4.25

4.25

4.25

4.5

4.5

4.5

HR (%max)

70

70

70

70

70

70

70

70

70

70

75

75

75

75

75

75

75

80

80

80

By: Jen Schnipke, NSCA-CPT

Sources: www.mayoclinic.com

www.acsm.org

www.exrx.net/aerobic