Aerobic activities help to strengthen the heart, increase lung capacity and burn “fat” calories. Expending energy is what gives us back more energy for other activities in our lives. Vary your aerobic activity. Cross training gives your mind and body something to continue to work at. Less chance of boredom when you have more choices of activities to do. Your body will be less likely to plateau if you change what you are doing.
How often and how long?
If you are just trying to maintain your fitness level and keep conditioned, do aerobic activity at least 3 times a week. If you are wanting a change in your fitness level, your aerobic activity needs to be no less than 4 times a week and as much as 6 times a week. Aerobic activity can be broken up into periods throughout the day, but you want to have at least 20 minutes of continuous cardiovascular work and up to 60 minutes. Varying the duration of your activity is also a good way to keep your body guessing.
Vary your intensity level. Using a “rate of perceived exertion” scale of 1-10 learn to listen to your body and then believe it and challenge it from time to time. The “1” is the rate at which you are at complete rest. The “10” is the rate at which you are breathless. In an aerobic activity you will typically be between 5-8 on the scale. It is okay and actually recommended to do interval training to where you reach between the 8-10 on the same scale for short bursts. We call this getting uncomfortable. Many changes can occur when challenging your self aerobically at 1-2 times a week during your aerobic activities. Understand that heart rate increase as well as an increase in oxygen uptake is truly working aerobically. If you can sing you are not working hard enough to make changes.