Aerobic exercise is natural, relaxed and highly beneficial movement that results in increased heart and respiration rates.
It's the most efficient way to burn calories and fat.
Almost any activity involving continuous movement of as many muscles as possible in a relaxed, non-stressful manner is aerobic.
Walking is probably the most beneficial exercise for anyone who has completely avoided exercise for years or decades.
You don't really have to walk fast - just walk continuously for 30-45 minutes at a comfortable pace. You should notice your heart rate picking up along with increased breathing.
But you shouldn't be getting out of breath, and your heart shouldn't be pounding. If that happens, slow down some.
If you walk every day for 30-45 minutes at a pace which causes some increase in your heart rate, you will experience steady improvement in your physical condition.
You will also experience consistent improvement in your mental and emotional attitudes.
You will find yourself looking forward to your daily walks.
Stephen Cherniske is one of my favorite authors in the area of nutrition and health. He is a biochemist and nutritionist as well as an excellent communicator.
He, along with many other experts says that 30 minutes of steady exercise is necessary for your metabolism to switch from burning carbohydrates to burning mostly fat.
So, if you are overweight, you need to get to the point where you can exercise steadily for longer than 30 minutes.
If you are grossly overweight, you may have to begin with some basic arm movements - doing them steadily enough to keep your heart rate elevated somewhat more than its resting rate for 30 minutes.
I know of folks who are so overweight that walking may actually be dangerous for them. They should be exercising under the supervision of a doctor or an expert trainer.
Assuming that you're not in that category, you can probably begin daily exercising by walking. Walking can remain your method of exercise for as long as you wish.
If you're not more than 10 or 20 pounds overweight you can probably
quickly become acclimated to walking briskly for 45 minutes to an hour
Other aerobic exercise activities include bicycling, swimming, and light weight training.
Aerobic activities are those which do not result in an oxygen deficiency. The cardio-respiratory systems are not stressed.
If exercise becomes too strenuous, oxygen deficiencies occur, and muscle mass is actually reduced.
Now, I know there are different opinions as to whether muscle mass is adversely affected by overly strenuous exercise.
In fact, body builders subscribe to the no-pain-no-gain philosophy of exercise.
Unless you are a professional athlete or a young body builder, you probably have no reason to put yourself through the painful, intense types of weight training programs.
Likewise, the intense running routines that many people get involved in can result in much less than desirable outcomes.
I enjoy a little relaxed jogging along with bicycling and walking.
I also enjoy some light weight machine workouts for maintaining muscle mass as I age.
Enjoyment is a key ingredient, which makes it possible to develop consistency. Aerobic exercise 5 or 6 days a week is very beneficial in several ways.
You might even want to indulge yourself by doing it every day - but don't necessarily become a slave to it.
One of the keys to really enjoying it is to just take in your surroundings as you walk, jog, or ride your bicycle outside in the fresh, morning air.
Here in Colorado we are able to do this nearly year around. Even during most of the winter when the air is cooler, it's very cool, crisp, and stimulating unless the wind is blowing.
If there's snow or ice on the ground, I just leave the bike at home, and enjoy a combination of walking and running.
Cross country skiing is a great aerobic exercise to get into if you enjoy the cool air of the the high country.
Hopefully, we can buy some equipment and take the time to enjoy this exhilarating activity soon.