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Aerobic Activity: What Counts?

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Aerobic activity or "cardio" exercise, gets you breathing harder and your makes your heart beat faster. Walking fast, running or jogging, bike riding, playing basketball, or swimming laps are all examples of aerobic activity.

Doing aerobic exercise

You can do moderate or vigorous intensity aerobic activity, or a mix of the two each week. Intensity is how hard your body is working during aerobic activity. A general rule of thumb you can follow for sufficient aerobic activity is that one minute of vigorous intensity activity is about the same as two minutes of moderate intensity activity.

Different Types of Aerobic Activity

Something for almost everyone can be found under the generic aerobics umbrella. Young and old can take part in aerobics classes and workouts, as can the fit and initially unfit.

One of the main reasons people fail to persevere in an exercise regimen and to meet their exercise goals, is they get bored. Simple as that.

This is particularly true when people work out alone at home. One of the keys to the success of aerobics is that it makes exercising FUN, especially when it is done in a group.

Following are some variations of aerobic activity. Perhaps you'll find one (or more?) that appeals to you!

Woman doing step bench aerobics

  1. Sportfunk. This is an enjoyable, hihg-energy, but moderate impact workout that uses creative and funky dance moves.
  2. Sculpt. The aim of this series of exercises is to improve muscle tone. It utilizes weights, tubes and bands to provide resistance.
  3. ABS/Glutes. This is a workout designed to strengthen and tone the muscle groups of the gluteal and abdominal regions.
  4. STEP. This workout takes advantage of the aerobic value of stair-climbing by simulating its moves. It uses basic STEP patterns and can be used with people at all levels of fitness.
  5. STEP II. This is an advanced, high-intensity workout for people who are already skilled steppers. The workout features propulsion movements and limited STEP combinations.
  6. Cardio/Interval. This is the ultimate cardiovascular workout. Participants alternate between intervals of STEP, high-intensity power moves, and high-implact aerobics.
  7. Hydrorobics. People of all levels of fitness can enjoy this water aerobic program. Workouts provide a high level of resistance, without adding stress to the body.

These are just a few of the many variations on the aerobics theme. Whatever a person's interest and fitness level, there is anaerobics workout tomeet his or her needs. Video tapes make it possible to work out at home, but there is something about thie social nature of aerobics and the music to which the exercises are performed that makes it more fun to do it in a group.

How do I know if I'm doing light, moderate, or vigorous aerobic activity?

For most people, light daily activities such as shopping, cooking, or doing the laundry doesn't count toward the guidelines. Why? Your body isn't working hard enough to get your heart rate up.

Moderate-intensity aerobic activity means you're working hard enough to raise your heart rate and break a sweat. One way to tell is that you'll be able to talk, but not sing the words to your favorite song. Here are some examples of activities that require moderate aerobic effort:

  • Jogging or running
  • Swimming laps
  • Riding a bicycle or on hills
  • Playing singles tennis
  • Playing basketball

Exercise Chart

Anger-obics Anyone?

Anger Suppression. Suppressing anger has been linked to depression, and many health care experts believe it can lead to a variety of increased health risks, from excess weight to heart attack. One option:  Exercise with punch. "Anger-obics", a term coined by anger expert Lisa Tener, combines movement, visualization, creativity and humor to help you physically express anger in healthful ways. EXamples range from stomping on a Post-it note -- on which you've written a word or situation that gets your goat -- to dancing energetically while shaking a scarf to release your anger.

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Disclaimer: The material on this Web site is not intended to replace advice from your doctor or fitness professional. Please consult with your physician before beginning any fitness program or fat or weight reduction program. FitnessandFreebies.com takes no responsibility for individual results, or any claim made by a third party.