The Best Aerobic exercises use the body’s large muscle groups in continuous, rhythmic, sustained movement and require oxygen for the production of energy. When oxygen is combined with food (which can come from stored fat) energy is produced to power the body’s musculature. The longer you move aerobically, the more energy needed and the more calories used. Regular aerobic exercise will improve your cardiorespiratory endurance, the ability of your heart, lungs, blood vessels and associated tissues to use oxygen to produce energy needed for activity. You’ll build a healthier body while getting rid of excess body fat.
What Kind of Exercise
Although any kind of physical movement requires energy (calories), the type of exercise that uses the most energy is aerobic exercise. The term “aerobic” is derived from the Greek word meaning “with oxygen.” Jogging, brisk walking, swimming, biking, cross-country skiing and aerobic dancing are some popular forms of aerobic exercise.
In addition to the aerobic exercise, supplement your program with muscle strengthening and stretching exercises. Strength training is another way for you to meet the recommended minimum of 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each day. Strength training will help you burn extra calories, build strong muscles, bones, and joints, and improve your physical functioning. The stronger your muscles, the longer you will be able to keep going during aerobic activity, and the less chance of injury. Experts recommend strength training 2 to 3 days each week, with 1 full day of rest between workouts to allow your muscles to recover. If you are new to strength training or physical activity in general, consider hiring a certified personal trainer who can plan an individualized program to help you work out safely and effectively.
How Much? How Often
Experts recommend that you do some form of aerobic exercise at least three times a week for a minimum of 20 continuous minutes. Of course, if that is too much, start with a shorter time span and gradually build up to the minimum. Then gradually progress until you are able to work aerobically for 20-40 minutes. If you need to lose a large amount of weight, you may want to do your aerobic workout five times a week. It is important to exercise at an intensity vigorous enough to cause your heart rate and breathing to increase. How hard you should exercise depends to a certain degree on your age, and is determined by measuring your heart rate in beats per minute.