Return to Index
The Benefits of Aerobic Exercise
- Lower risk of early death
- Lower risk of conditions such as heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes
- Weight loss and weight control
- Reduced depression
Examples of Aerobic Exercise
- Aerobic dance
- Cross-country skiing
- Playing team sports that involve running, such as basketball and soccer
- Adults should complete at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity.
- For greater health benefits, adults should increase their aerobic physical activity to 300 minutes a week of moderate-intensity or 150 minutes a week of vigorous intensity aerobic physical activity or a combination of both.
- Aerobic activity should be performed in episodes of at least 10 minutes and it should be spread throughout the week.
- When older adults cannot do 150 minutes of moderate–intensity aerobic activity a week due to chronic conditions, they should be as physically active as possible (some activity is better than no activity).
- Older adults should determine their level of effort relative to their level of fitness.
- Participate in one hour or more of physical activity daily.
- Most of the hour should be either moderate– or vigorous–intensity physical activity
- The activity should include vigorous-intensity activity least 3 days a week
- Short episodes of activity are appropriate for people who are new to aerobic exercise.
- Warm up to gradually increase your heart rate and breathing before an activity. A warm up before jogging might consist of brisk walking.
- Slowly increase the intensity of your activity. If you are aiming for a moderate-intensity aerobic activity, you should be able to talk during the activity. If you are doing a vigorous-intensity activity, you can't say more than a few words without pausing for a breath.
- Cool down with some stretching after an activity to gradually decrease your heart rate and breathing at the end of an activity. This will also help with flexibility and range of motion.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 11/2015
- Update Date: 11/30/2015