Sometimes the hardest part of exercising isn't making the decision to actually do it, it's deciding what type of physical activity you would enjoy and that would be best for your body. Aerobic exercise is any type of activity that increases your heart rate over an extended period of time. Moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise is the most effective for burning calories and losing weight. The number of calories you burn for each exercise is based on the intensity of your workout as well as on your physical fitness level and age.
Running, Brisk Walking and Jogging
Among the most popular forms of aerobic activity because they usually require little to no equipment other than shoes, running, brisk walking and jogging can be performed outside in decent weather or indoors on a treadmill. The steeper the incline of your walking or jogging, the more difficult the exercise will be and the greater aerobic workout you'll get. Other variations on this form of aerobic activity include an elliptical trainer, which has the same effect but reduces the impact on your joints, as well as a stair stepper, which increases the difficulty by requiring you to walk up simulated flights of stairs.
Many sports, including individual and team sports that require long periods of running or jogging, can get your heart rate elevated long enough to be considered aerobic exercise. Basketball, racquetball, backyard football, gymnastics and other sports get — and keep — your heart rate elevated and may prove to be more enjoyable than just working out at the gym. If you're interested in participating in sports to get your aerobic exercise in, look into local sports leagues or clubs for people who share your interests.
Swimming and Water Aerobics
Some people who have bad joints or are experiencing injuries may prefer to jump in the water for their aerobic activity. Swimming and water aerobics provide the same type of cardiovascular workout as aerobic exercise on land, but with less impact and more resistance, thanks to the water. Sports and fitness clubs such as the YMCA often offer group water aerobics classes to help keep you motivated and help you feed off the energy of other people.
Like jogging and brisk walking, biking offers you the ability to get in a rigorous workout or enjoy some relatively leisurely exercise, depending on your mood and needs. You can take a bike out into the warm weather or ride a stationary bike in the gym when it's cold or rainy. Either way, you're getting a low-impact workout that increases your heart rate and helps you burn calories and fat.