What Are The Best Types Of Aerobic Exercise?

Wondering what the best types of aerobic exercises for you are? Wanting to be healthy and vibrant for the rest of your life and being curious about exercise is a great first step. But,like many women over 50, you may not be sure where to start or what exercises are safe to do.

As a mature woman, you probably know that some changes with aging are natural, others are a result of past lifestyle choices. Perhaps you're feeling some negative changes and you want to perform everyday activities with more ease, lose weight, sleep better or be in less pain. Or maybe you've made it this far with few or no limitations and just want to ensure you stay strong, flexible and fit.

For most 50+ women, our reasons for exercising have changed. Yes, we still want to look good in our clothes. But we also want to stay healthy, avoid disease and remain independent. Participating in a regular aerobic exercise program helps you do all that. After all, wouldn't you rather spend act II of your life pursuing your long-held dreams? Let's get started...

Tips On Finding Your Types Of Aerobic Exercise

So how do you choose what exercises to do? First and foremost the best aerobic exercise program is the one you enjoy doing!

Before going forward, let's take a trip back in time. Our generation participated in active play as children. What did you enjoy doing? Jot down all that apply...

  • Hide and seek
  • Climbing
  • Playing kick ball
  • Riding a bike
  • Playing hopscotch
  • Dance lessons
  • Softball
  • Gymnastics
  • Jumping rope
  • Playing hula hoop
  • Ice skating
  • Roller skating
  • Basketball
  • Tennis
  • Fishing
  • Soccer
  • Water skiing
  • Snow skiing
  • Playing in a marching band

Add to the list if something's missing. Now consider...

What was it you enjoyed about these activities? Use all your senses as you review your past. Was it the feel on your skin of fresh air, sunlight or water? The joy of socializing or having some alone time? The sounds of music, nature or silence? The rush of speed or challenge? Maybe some of these activities are still appropriate for you to try today. If not...

There are numerous types of aerobic exercises to choose from...

  • Brisk walking
  • Swimming
  • Water aerobics
  • Aerobic fitness classes
  • Biking
  • Rowing
  • Hiking
  • Jogging
  • Using aerobic machines such as a: treadmill, elliptical, stair climber or recumbent bike

Which of these appeal to you? Do they have some of the characteristics of the activities you loved doing as a child? The best way to build a program that lasts is to know what you like and...

Be clear on where you are starting from.

  • Do you suffer from osteoporosis , diabetes, arthritis, heart disease or any other condition that might limit what you can currently do? Learn safety precautions, what exercises to avoid and which are best for your condition.
  • Haven't been active in years? Start with aerobic activities and/or a beginners aerobic exercise program. Walking, water exercise and stationary cycling are beginner-friendly exercises for women over 50.
  • Already active and just want to up your level? A 10% increase per week in distance, time or intensity (not all three at once) is a safe way to progress. If you want to try a new activity altogether, check your flexibility and strength first to be sure you're ready for it. Then add it in one day a week for 10 minutes to start while you continue your usual routine. Over a period of 3 months, gradually increase the time you spend doing the new activity and drop 1 - 2 days per week of your old routine.

Do The Best Types Of Aerobic Exercise Awlays Have To Mean A Formal Exercise Program?

Good question. The best types of aerobic exercise for you may not be formal exercises at all. Lifestyle physical activity has significant health benefits, provided you do enough of them. If you are currently very inactive, doing more aerobic activities is a good place to start.

One simple way of becoming more active is to wear a pedometer (step counter). Pedometers are inexpensive and available at most sporting goods and department stores. Once you get it wear it for a week without changing your normal routine. Log the number of steps you take each day in a notebook. At the end of the week total all the steps you took and divide by 7 to get your daily average.

Then simply find ways to gradually increase the average number of daily steps you take. For example...

  • Get up to change the channels on the TV rather than using the remote.
  • Walk to talk to your co-workers rather than e-mailing them.
  • Let the cleaning lady go and do your own housework.
  • Take the stairs whenever you can.
  • Get up during commercials.
  • Whenever you go out to get the mail - take a walk around the block.
  • Walk around while you are talking on the phone
  • Take up gardening, kayaking or dancing.

There are hundreds of ways to become more active, even without a formal exercise program. Get creative. For health benefits a long-term goal of 8,000 to 12,000 steps per day is good. They can happen in 5 to 15 minute bouts throughout your day.

Continue to wear your pedometer. If not for good, then at least until you are consistently taking the required average number of steps per day for 6 months.

Getting Started Once You've Chosen Your Types Of Aerobic Exercise Or Activities

Whether the best types of aerobic exercise for you turn out to be a formal exercise program or by simply increasing the steps you take, give yourself time to lay a good foundation. Becoming physically active, and staying that way is a life-long challenge. Prepare yourself for it...

Are you ready to change? Change occurs in stages. To succeed in moving forward, you need to meet yourself where you are. The approach you take in one stage will be totally different from the other stages.

Pre-contemplation - you're not even thinking about it.

Contemplation - you begin to consider the possibility and research a bit.

Preparation - you're developing a plan and may even be exercising a little.

Action - you have been active on a regular basis for less than 6 months.

Maintenance - You've been regularly active for 6 months or more and are confident you can stay that way.

Be prepared. Create a plan. It will significantly increase your odds of long-term success.

Remember changing habits takes time. Almost everyone has setbacks along the way. Be patient with yourself. Learn from them and move on. Choose to enjoy the process!

Click here to return to the What Is Aerobics page from this Types Of Aerobic Exercise page.


Our newsletter, Fit After 50 Woman, brings you information, inspiration and simple strategies that make getting active, being healthy and living fully, easier and more enjoyable.

To subscribe...

Enter Your Email Address

Enter Your First Name


Don't worry -- your e-mail address is totally secure.
I promise to use it only to send you Fit After 50 Woman.

Related Pages...

Test Your Aerobic Fitness

Types of aerobic exercises

Keeping your heart healthy

About osteoporosis

About arthritis