We know that those who exercise and follow sensible healthy lifestyles live longer, healthier lives. More specifically, aerobic exercise is great for improving overall body function, stamina and fitness, but many people are unsure what it involves and how much to do.
What is aerobic exercise?
Sustained, low to moderate intensity exercise such as brisk walking, swimming, jogging, cycling, dancing, or any other activity comprising continuous energetic movement is known as ‘aerobic’ exercise. This means that it triggers the body’s oxygen use in the muscles to generate energy and burn calories.
How much should I exercise?
It depends on your starting point; if you currently do little exercise, start off gradually and progress towards an optimal exercise regime. Going straight from sedentary to serious sustained exercise can increase your risk of injury, or just prove so difficult and unenjoyable that you give up. It’s hard to say how much to exercise exactly; some health authorities recommend around three hours per week, spread out over several days. It’s okay to adapt the length and intensity of the exercise to suit your ability.
Any increase in your fitness level is a good thing; so be guided by your body, and gradually build-up the amount of aerobic exercise you do until you’re comfortable with your fitness and schedule.
Is it good for me?
Regular aerobic exercise is a great way to stay in shape and excellent for improving cardiovascular function—the health of
the heart and blood vessels. If you’re looking to build significant muscle mass however, aerobic exercise will need to be supplemented with high intensity exercise like weight training.
Aerobic exercise is achievable for many people as it can be adapted to suit most levels of ability and mobility; plus it can be a social activity. Many people find it easier and more enjoyable to exercise with a friend or in a group, and physical activity and socialising are both linked to good mental health.
If you have a specific health condition that might be affected by a sudden change in activity, remember to consult your health professional before you start.