What is an aerobic exercise for beginners?

A good aerobic exercise for beginners can be something as simple as walking! Set a reasonable distance and go for it! As it gets easier, progress the exercise by walking faster, walking further, or both.      

Dr. Vonda Wright, MD
Orthopedic Surgery
If you are just starting out with aerobic exercise, I suggest the walk/run method. You have been walking and running since you were about a year old, so this is easy. The only difference now is that we are building up stamina. I teach my patients and exercisers the "perceived effort" plan to add intensity to and eliminate any chance of boredom.

You can determine your "effort" by monitoring your heart rate with a heart-rate monitor, taking your pulse, or simply by listening to your body work.

1. 5-minute walking warm-up
2. 2-minute run at 90 percent maximum effort
3. 2-minute walk/jog at 65 percent maximum effort
4. 2-minute run at 90 percent maximum effort
5. 2-minute walk/jog at 65 percent maximum effort
6. 2-minute run at 90 percent maximum effort
7. 2-minute walk/jog at 65 percent maximum effort
8. 5-minute walk recovery
  • Depending on your speed, you should be able to cover between 1-1.5 miles with this 17-minute pattern. Just repeat steps 2-7 until you cover the distance or time you desire.
  • When this schedule is not a challenge, or you need to cover more distance in less time, make the runs four minutes and the walks two minutes.
  • At the end of the program, you should be able to run for five minutes at a time with a 1-2 minute walk/jog in between as necessary.
  • But what if you can't stand to run? Never fear. The perceived effort/time method works for any means of aerobic activity, including straight running, spinning, the treadmill, elliptical machine, rowing, and even jumping rope.
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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.