What is Aerobic Exercise?

If you are new to exercising or are simply looking to change up your current workout, you may run into the term “Aerobic” exercise.

What is Aerobic Exercise?

If you are new to exercising or are simply looking to change up your current workout, you may run into the term “Aerobic” exercise. If you aren’t familiar with this type of exercise, the need for more explanation of what exactly an aerobic exercise is certainly warranted. 

Aerobic exercise involves the conditioning of your cardiovascular system. This is done through the increase of your heart rate and breathing as you complete a certain exercise over a sustained period of time rather than in short, intense bursts. 

If you are looking for a way to increase your heart rate without having to dedicate your time to intense and strenuous workouts, aerobic exercise could be a great option for you. This type of exercise allows individuals to increase their heart rates, burn calories, and build muscle at a steady and predictable pace. Continue reading to figure out what exactly aerobic exercise is and discover some great aerobic exercises to do at home. 

What is Aerobic Exercise? 

Aerobic exercise, by definition, means “with oxygen.” Therefore, with this type of exercise, the main focus is on your breathing and how your heart rate increases as well. Aerobic exercise is essentially any type of exercise that aids in your cardiovascular conditioning, but not to the point that the exercise becomes extreme. Aerobic, at its most basic and simple form, is what many refer to as “cardio.” 

The goal behind aerobic exercises is to increase your breathing in order to bring more oxygen into your body. Through this influx of oxygen, which occurs due to rapid breathing, your heart rate is increased, therefore blood is pumped quicker throughout your body. This is a huge benefit for your health as this process helps to aid in keeping your heart strong, your lungs healthy, and your circulatory system functioning properly. 

Aerobic exercises are not the kind of exercises that require extreme movements followed by periods of rest such as those like HIIT and even Crossfit. Aerobic exercises are to be maintained over a steady pace so that breathing can be controlled and a greater amount of oxygen can be taken in for your body to use rather than resorting to stored energy. However, this does not mean that aerobic exercises are a walk in the park. 

A brisk walk in the park could be considered an aerobic exercise (as long as your heart rate is increased), but there is still a level of difficulty and challenge that comes along with this exercise type. This is not to scare those off who are considering adding aerobic exercises into their routine, but to actually encourage them to add such exercises. When it comes to the health of your body, a little challenge is always beneficial.  

Best Aerobic Exercises to do at Home 

The great thing about aerobic exercises is that they do not require a gym. Because of this fact alone, many who implement aerobic exercises into their workout routine are able to avoid crowds, can perform the workout just about anywhere, and also have the freedom to tailor their workout for their exact needs rather than depending on equipment that may not get the job done just right. Let’s take a look at some of the best aerobic exercises to do at home. 


Now, this doesn’t mean taking your time as you walk from the couch, down the hall, and to the refrigerator. For walking to be an aerobic exercise, you will need to crank up the intensity just a bit so that you can really get your heart rate pumping and your oxygen flowing. The level of intensity can be tailored to fit the needs and capabilities of each individual person, which makes walking such a great aerobic exercise. 

Arm Circles 

© BrightSide

This is a great exercise for those of you just at the beginning of your aerobic journey. To complete arm circles, stand with your feet hip-width apart and raise your arms up while extending them to either side of your body in a “T” position. You will then rotate both arms in a circular motion first clockwise for 10 seconds and then counterclockwise for another 10 seconds. The pace and speed at which you complete this can change based on your mobility.

Trunk Rotation 

This is also a great workout for beginners, but can also benefit those who need a bit more focus on abdominal strength and endurance. To complete a truck rotation, stand with a weight or heavy object at chest height with your elbows to the sides. You will then twist your body from the torso and turn from one side to the other. This should be done slowly, and in a controlled manner as possible to maximize its effects.

Jump Rope 

If you find that walking just isn’t enough for you or you want to switch up your moves just a bit, try jump roping. To jump rope, you will of course need some type of rope that is weighted enough to propel in the air well. Start by jump roping forward as you let your feet come off the ground only a few inches. Then, once you have gotten comfortable with the forward motion, reverse your jump rope and go backward. 

Jumping Jacks 

© POPSUGAR Studios

Speaking of jumping, jumping jacks are a great aerobic activity. They are easy to control, but they also are quick to push your body in a way that increases your heart rate quickly without too much strain. To complete a jumping jack, start with your feet together, then, as you jump your feet out beside you, simultaneously raise your hands above your head and bend them at the elbow until your hands almost touch. 

As you come down from the jump, bring your arms down as well and bring your feet back together. You will then repeat this at a controlled, but rapid pace for subsequent reps. 

Single-Leg Stand 

© Ak Diet

For those of you wanting to work your abdominal muscles, the single-leg stand is a great start. To complete this exercise, start with your feet together and bend your knees slightly as you lift one leg off of the floor until your thigh is parallel with the ground. Hold this position for 10 to 15 seconds and then slowly lower your leg back down. You will then complete the exact same process for the opposing leg to finish one rep. 

Squat to Front Kick 


This exercise not only challenges you to engage a variety of different muscles, but it also forces you to concentrate on your balance. To complete a squat front kick, stand with your feet hip-width apart with your arms at the side. You will then bend into a squat position then return to a standing position as you extend one leg out in front of you, completing a kick. You'll then get back into your starting position and complete the same motion with the opposite leg.


When people think of stairs, they typically want to run far away. However, for aerobic stairs, the goal is to simply walk up at a fast enough rate to challenge yourself without getting incredibly winded. To complete stairs, simply find a staircase and walk up them at a rate that helps to get your heart rate up and your breathing increased as well. If you are experiencing no difficulty, increase your pace. If you have too much difficulty, slow your pace. 


If you have a bike at home, this can be a great way to get in an aerobic exercise. This does not mean that you need to fly down the highway and take every major hill you can find, but simply ride your bike at a pace that will allow you to feel a bit of resistance. Based on your abilities, a bike ride can be as short as one mile or as long as 15 as long as you are able to maintain a pace that challenges you without having to vary your speed too drastically. 


Running may be out of the question for those who experience joint or other health-related issues. However, if you are capable of running and want to get outside of your home and around your area a bit more, running can be a great way to get an aerobic exercise in. Start out slow, aiming at about a 15 minute run a few times a week. Then, gradually increase your time and frequency as your endurance is built up and your ability gets much stronger. 


Another, more general rather than exact workout, is swimming. For those of you that don’t have a pool at home, this won’t be applicable. However, swimming is an incredible aerobic workout that qualifies as a whole-body workout. Start by completing laps through the implementation of one stroke. As you swim more often, add additional strokes to add a bit of variety into your workout and challenge other muscles.