What are FITT guidelines for cardiovascular aerobic exercise?

FITT stands for Frequency or how many times per week you are doing the exercise. I, stands for intensity, which is how hard the activity is being done. T, is for time, which mean how long is each exercise session. The last T stands for Type, which means are you using a bike, a stair climber or a treadmill.

The FITT acronym can remind you to slightly alter the Frequency, Intensity, Time (duration), and Type of exercise you do, as you are able, to steadily improve your physical fitness.
Cardiovascular aerobic exercise, or “cardio,” is one of three main types of exercise. (The other two are strength training and stretching.) It is any repetitive, rhythmic exercise that increases your heart rate and requires you to use more oxygen. These FITT guidelines can help you stay on track for fitness in the cardiovascular aerobic exercise component of your overall exercise plan.
Cardiovascular aerobic exercise FITT guidelines:
  • Frequency: 5 times per week
  • Intensity: Warm up for 5 minutes. Then do moderate-intensity activity, making sure you can pass the “talk test” - that is, the exercise is not so intense that you cannot converse with someone else. Cool down for 5 minutes.
  • Time: Exercise for at least 10 minutes at a time, with a goal of at least 30 minutes per day (more is even better, if tolerated).
  • Type: any activity that raises your heart rate for at least 10 minutes, such as walking, bicycling, jogging, swimming, vacuuming, scrubbing, shoveling, etc.
Don’t forget to add strength training and stretching to your exercise program as well. Remember: you should discuss your exercise plan and fitness goals with your physician before you begin.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.