Good overall fitness is based on aerobic fitness, strength, and flexibility. Each of these is important. For the health of your heart, any type of exercise is better than none, but aerobic fitness has the most benefits. Aerobic activity is exercise that causes your body to use oxygen in order to burn fat for energy. Typically, this requires activity that is sustained over a period of time and that uses the large muscles of your arms and legs. This type of exercise makes your heart work harder. Over time, it strengthens and conditions your heart.
What Should I Know About Aerobic Exercise?
In order to maximize your cardiovascular fitness level, experts recommend that your aerobic exercise is strenuous enough to raise your heart rate to a certain level. This level is called your target heart rate. In addition, your aerobic exercise should keep your heart rate elevated for at least 20 minutes.
It may be helpful for you to know about these guidelines. But, you don't have to exercise at this level of intensity to lower your risk for heart and blood vessel disease. Even frequent moderate aerobic activity has been shown to improve health.
Some examples of aerobic activities include the following:
- jumping rope
- cross-country skiing