Let’s Talk Aerobic Exercise

By: Kayla Rogers & Breion Young

Ever walk into the cardio area of the gym, and feel overwhelmed with options? Or maybe using a cardio machine/cardio training of any sort is an intimidating factor for you, because you simply do not know how to cardiovascular train. While many associate working out/exercising as, “lifting weights” the aerobic aspect of fitness plays an important role too. Aerobic exercise increases peak oxygen consumption (VO2 peak), which is in close relation with overall body fat percentage, body fat loss, and weight loss (Donnelly JE, 2013). In fact, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) suggests 3-5 days a week for 20-60 mins = 150-300mins per week of moderate-vigorous intensity, aerobic exercise, can help reduce body weight (Donnelly JE B. S., 2009).

F.I.T.T Principle

  • Frequency: 3-5 days/week
  • Intensity: Moderate (40-85%)- Vigorous (60-89%)
  • Time: 20-60 minute sessions = 150-300 min/week
  • Type: Treadmill, Bicycle, Elliptical, anything personably enjoyable.


The three main machines in the cardio area that are most commonly used, are the bicycle, treadmill, and the elliptical. All three of these machines are beneficial in helping you reach the recommendations that ACSM suggests. It is important to remember that everyone’s aerobic fitness is different, therefore do not feel intimidated by “long distance’ runners on the treadmills, or the marathon participants on the bicycle. If you are internally motivated, all the intimidating factors will play less of a role around you!


Donnelly JE, B. S. (2009). American College of Sports Medicine position stand: Appropriate physical activity intervention strategies for weight loss and prevention of weight regain for adults. Med Sci Sports Exerc., 459-471.

Donnelly JE, H. J. (2013). Aerobic exercise alone results in clinically significant weight loss for men and women: exercise trial 2. Obesity, 219-229.


Assistant Professor, Kinesiology and Health Studies department


  • I remember in my college P.E. class being told that cross country skiing was the best overall aerobic exercise. That’s great for the people living in the Scandinavian countries but certainly a big challenge here in Oklahoma. I purchased a basic NordicTrack and I have to say it was a really good aerobic workout for me but unfortunately over time my previous back injuries forced me to workout on a Schwinn stationary bicycle. Not nearly as physical as the NordicTrack but it still helped to achieve a good aerobic workout. Also, both of these workout tools essentially don’t have any impact on your knees, ankles and hips. That is something to consider for long-term workout fitness devices. My dad had run many, many, many miles over the years and had to have hip surgery about 6 years ago and now his other hip is giving him a hard time. The bottom line though is to start somewhere with your aerobic workouts and strive to be consistent with it…to where it is a lifestyle activity. Don’t be concerned about others working out around you, just stay focused on your specific workout activity.