What Is Aerobic Exercise?

What Is Aerobic Exercise?

What Is Aerobic Exercise?

Aerobic exercise is a type of physical activity that can be maintained continuously and utilizes large muscle groups that rely on aerobic metabolism.1 Unlike resistance exercises that emphasize muscle growth and strength, aerobic exercises focuses on improving cardiorespiratory fitness.2


What Are Examples of Aerobic Exercises?

Aerobic exercises include various physical activities that are rhythmic in nature and primarily uses large muscle groups.1 These include walking, jogging, long distance running, swimming, dancing, hiking, and cycling, among others.


Does Aerobic Exercise Benefit Health?

Numerous studies show that aerobic exercises are beneficial for cardiovascular and metabolic health.3,4 Aerobic exercises in particular are known to improve cardiorespiratory fitness, measured as the capacity of the cardiorespiratory system to provide oxygen and the capacity of skeletal muscles to utilize oxygen.1 Research has demonstrated that engaging in regular aerobic exercises lowers cardiovascular and overall mortality risks in individuals with diabetes.1,4 Based on research findings, the American Heart Association recommends that adults should engage in 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercises 5-7 times a week.3 Similarly, the American Diabetes Association suggests that adults with diabetes should engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity aerobic exercises spread over at least 3 days a week.4


1. Patel H, Alkhawam H, Madanieh R, Shah N, Kosmas CE, Vittorio TJ. Aerobic vs anaerobic exercise training effects on the cardiovascular system. World J Cardiol. 2017;9(2):134-138. doi:10.4330/wjc.v9.i2.134
2. Schroeder EC, Franke WD, Sharp RL, Lee D chul. Comparative Effectiveness of Aerobic, Resistance, and Combined Training on Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors: A Randomized Controlled Trial. PLoS One. 2019;14(1):e0210292. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0210292
3. Unger T, Borghi C, Charchar F, et al. 2020 International Society of Hypertension Global Hypertension Practice Guidelines. Hypertension. 2020;75(6):1334-1357. doi:10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.120.15026
4. American Diabetes Association Professional Practice Committee.
5. Facilitating Positive Health Behaviors and Well-being to Improve Health Outcomes: Standards of Care in Diabetes—2024. Diabetes Care. 2023;47(Supplement_1):S77-S110. doi:10.2337/dc24-S005



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