Aerobic Exercise

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Harvard Medical School
Chrome 2001
Chrome 2001

Aerobic Exercise

Types of Exercise
Aerobic Exercise
Aerobic Exercise
Air conditioning for your body.
InteliHealth Medical Content

Reviewed by the Faculty of Harvard Medical School

Aerobic Exercise

"Aerobic" means "with oxygen." For a sport or activity to be aerobic, you need two things:

  1. You must use your large muscles
  2. You must do the action for two to three minutes or longer

Because muscles need oxygen for aerobic exercise, your heart and lungs work harder to supply the oxygen. Working your heart and lungs like this makes your heart stronger and your lungs work better.

Aerobic activities include:

  • Walking
  • Gardening
  • Raking or mowing
  • Hiking
  • Bicycling
  • Swimming
  • Jogging
  • Tennis
  • Basketball
  • Cross-country skiing

A good aerobic workout lasts 20 to 60 minutes. As soon as you start, the amount of energy you use increases. (You may use between three and 15 times the amount of energy you use when sitting.) This jump in activity is very good for you. How often do you need to workout? Spend at least three hours each week on aerobic exercise to strengthen your heart.

Aerobic exercise also:

  • Lowers your risk of a heart attack
  • Lowers your risk of coronary artery disease
  • Improves your cholesterol, which helps lower your risk of coronary artery disease
  • Places good stress on your bones, which helps maintain or increase bone strength
  • Increases brain chemicals that improve mood
  • Increases stamina
  • Improves blood flow to the limbs and organs

Aerobic exercise is also one of the best ways to lower your blood pressure and reduce body fat. And daily exercise helps relieve stress and can prevent or reduce depression.

See Setting Up an Aerobic Program for help on getting started today.


aerobic,heart,coronary artery disease
Last updated June 10, 2014

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