Every exercise program should include some aerobic activities. The health benefits are many, and it is fairly easy to fit into your daily routine. If you are interested in increasing your aerobic activity, this information will get you started.
In aerobic exercise, you continually move large muscle groups. This action causes you to breathe more deeply and your heart to work harder to pump blood. This strengthens your heart and lungs.
There is strong evidence that the health benefits associated with regular exercise include:
Aerobic exercises include:
Before starting an exercise program, check with your doctor about any possible medical problems. This is especially important if you have a chronic condition. If you are new to exercise, consider making an appointment with a certified athletic trainer to help you develop a safe, effective, and enjoyable exercise program. You can find a trainer at a local gym or through a referral from your doctor or a friend.
The United States Department of Health and Human Services offers these exercise guidelines for adults:
Older adults should follow the same guidelines as adults, but should also keep the following in mind:
Children and adolescents have the following key guidelines regarding aerobic activity:
Tips for getting started:
American College of Sports Medicine
American Council on Exercise
Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology
2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. US Department of Health and Human Services website. Available at: http://www.health.gov/PAGuidelines/pdf/paguide.pdf. Accessed February 3, 2014.
Physical activity and health. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/everyone/health/index.html. Updated February 16, 2011. Accessed February 3, 2014.
Last reviewed February 2014 by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.