Anything that raises your pulse and makes you breathe hard steadily for 15 minutes or more is aerobic. If you do aerobic exercises daily, or atleast three or four times a week, you will keep your lungs and heart in good condition. If your goal is to take part in athletic competition, then you will want to devote much more time than 15 minutes daily to aerobic exercises.
Many sports, such as baseball and football, require only short burst of energy. These sports do not produce aerobic benefits. But you need good aerobic conditioning to perform at your best when those bursts of energy are needed. That is why baseball and football players make aerobic exercises a major part of their conditioning programs.
Some sports, such as bowling or billiards, will not keep you fit. But being fit will improve your performance in all sports.
How hard you work at aerobic exercise determines the amount of benefit you get from it. If your bicycle riding is nothing more than downhill coasting, you will gain little benefit. You must exercise hard for maximum benefit.
But suppose you do not enjoy exercising hard for 15 minutes or more. You can also benefit from slower activities such as walking or easy swimming, but you must do them for longer periods. An hour of brisk walking, for example, will do as much good for most people as 15 minutes of jogging.
If you are not in condition, you should ease into aerobic exercises slowly. This is especially important of you are overweight. At first, just five minutes of jogging may tire you out. Lengthen you workouts slowly. The chances are that within two weeks you will notice a difference. You will be able to jog further and faster. And if you have been careful about eating, you will probably be getting slimmer. Aerobic exercises combined with dieting will help you get rid of excess fat.
A related type of exercise is anaerobic exercise. The word “anaerobic” means “without oxygen.” When doing anaerobic exercises, such as sprinting, you very quickly become out of breath. It is impossible to sprint for long periods of time. You must soon stop to catch your breath. Anaerobic exercises are used by top athletes to build up their speed.
But in an ordinary physical fitness program, anaerobic exercises are not recommended. Instead you should concentrate on aerobic exercises.
Aerobic classes are offered in most gyms and you would greatly benefit if you enroll or make it a part of your regular work-out. Some enjoy and reap great benefits from aerobic dance classes that they no longer need another work-out.