Aerobic exercise can help you control your weight, reduce your risk of illness, strengthen your heart and boost your mood. Participating in regular aerobic exercise can also help you live longer. To enjoy these benefits, just choose the training method that fits with your lifestyle and try to do it at least 30 minutes most days.
Going for a long, slow run or walk is considered continuous training. Also known as endurance training, this method involves performing an exercise at the same effort level for 20 to 60 minutes or more without resting, says the American Council on Exercise. Many beginners like this training because it does not require special equipment and can be performed anywhere.
Run hard for three minutes, walk for one minute, then repeat. This is an example of interval training. It involves alternating short bursts of intense activity with an active recovery. With interval training you can actually do more work than with continuous training because you incorporate brief bouts of rest to recover and renew between each hard effort.
Intervals can be structured -- such as alternating 1 to 3 minutes of work with 2 to 5 minutes of recovery — or less-structured, as in a Fartlek workout. For a Fartlek, you set each interval depending on how you feel. For a fun fartlek workout, try running as fast as you can to a specific landmark — such as a parked car or tree — and then walking to the next street corner. Keep changing the landmarks, interval length and speed until you’ve gone a set distance or time.
Almost any type of exercise can be taught in a group setting, but popular classes include step aerobics, kickboxing and Zumba. This type of aerobic training enhances cardiorespiratory fitness, weight management and enhance mood.
Group classes are good for most levels of exerciser, too. You can bump up the intensity by moving faster or jumping more. Beginners may stay closer to the ground as they sweat through a workout.
Super-circuit training combines aerobics and weight lifting into one workout. Typically, a circuit is made up of 10 or more training stations with exercises for every major muscle group. Perform each exercise for 30 to 60 seconds. Do cardio like running in place or jumping jacks for 30 seconds between each station. The workout moves quickly, keeps you entertained, trains you aerobically and also improves your muscular fitness.
Many experts recommend using different types of aerobic training methods in your workout routine. Cross-training uses multiple exercises and methods to keep your muscles moving in different directions. It helps prevent injury and can keep you motivated by reducing boredom. To participate, just change things up all week long. For example, try running on Monday, swimming on Wednesday and biking on Friday.