No matter your age, you can prevent and sometimes even reverse the effects of aging through exercise. You can improve strength, balance, endurance and speed after just a few months of dedicated, regular exercise. Added benefits are increased daily energy and less stress.
Aerobic endurance is exercise that involves or improves oxygen consumption by the body. Improved oxygen consumption makes everything work better. This type of activity involves using your larger muscles, like your legs.
To increase your aerobic endurance, you’ll need to get your heart pumping a little faster for about 30 minutes per day, but don’t overdo it. Consult the American Heart Association target heart rate chart for your ideal exercise heart rate. Here's a rule of thumb: if you can’t talk, you’re working too hard. If you can sing a song, you are not working hard enough.
The 30 minutes of daily exercise doesn’t need to be done all at once. You can split it into three 10-minute segments.
If you haven’t been active in a while, pick an activity that you enjoy and do 5-10 minutes per day for a couple of weeks. Then, increase either your intensity (your pace) or your duration (how long you exercise) every couple of weeks.
- Walking outside, in a mall or on a treadmill
- Biking outdoors, or use a stationary bike at home or in a fitness center
- Take classes at local fitness centers, gyms and community centers
- Swimming at local community centers, community college or gyms in the area with pool programs
For those of you who are already exercising, increase both your intensity and your duration. Add 10 minutes, or cover the same distance in 5 minutes less time. In either case, allow your body about two weeks to adjust to the change before you increase again. And remember, always warm up and cool down
To be safe and get the most out of your exercise program:
- Always consult your doctor before starting any exercise program.
- Maintain normal breathing throughout your exercise; talking or counting aloud helps
- Do not do an exercise that makes your joints pop, click or grind, even if it’s without pain
- Structure your program to include adequate rest periods, or divide your program into several short sessions
- Choose a time when you’re well-rested and moving most freely
- Wear loose, comfortable clothing and good supportive shoes