What Is the Definition of Aerobic Exercise?


Physical exercise is defined as aerobic when your workout causes your heart rate to approach at least 60 percent of its maximum capability.

The intensity of aerobic activity can range from moderate to brisk. If you are just beginning an aerobic routine, it's wise to start slowly and allow your body to gradually become accustomed to more energetic workouts.

Defining intensity

  • Some popular forms of aerobic exercise are walking, bicycling and swimming. The intensity of activity is determined by how difficult it is for you to accomplish while maintaining a reasonable degree of comfort.

Aim for the middle ground

  • Striving for a moderate degree of intensity is a good rule of thumb as you undertake aerobic endeavors. If you overwork your body, you may be more likely to become sore or suffer an injury. On the other hand if you don't push your body hard enough, you could fail to achieve the level of fitness you desire.

The breath factor

  • When your body is in a moderate aerobic state, such as when walking at a fast pace, you should be able to comfortably talk but not be able to sing. As your workout intensifies with activities like jogging or running, you will have to pause to take a breath every few words.

Your heart rate

  • One way to calculate your level of aerobic exercise is by monitoring your heart rate. The target heart rate during vigorous physical activity should not exceed 90 percent of your maximum heart rate.

Target heart rate

  • There is a simple formula to help you figure out your target heart rate. Simply subtract your age from 220 beats per minute. This means the maximum heart rate for a 40-year-old is 180. In order to be exercising at a moderate aerobic level, the target heart rate for this person would fall somewhere between 108 and 162.

The benefits of aerobic movement

  • There are numerous health benefits associated with regular aerobic exercise. Even moderate activity most days of the week can lower the risk of heart disease, reduce the resting heart rate and lessen the severity of bone loss due to age and osteoporosis.

Time commitment

  • The National Institute of Health says that in order to achieve the health benefits of aerobic exercise, you should aim for either five hours of moderate activity or 2 1/2 hours of more intense exercise each week.


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