Aerobic Exercise

Regular exercise sessions should include aerobic exercise.

Aerobic exercise:

  • uses large muscles.
  • is continuous.
  • increases your heart rate for 10 minutes or more.
  • burns calories.

How Often, How Hard, How Long, What Type?

The acronym F.I.T.T. is often used to provide guidelines for different types of exercise. It stands for Frequency, Intensity, Time and Type. Below are the guidelines for aerobic exercise.

F – Frequency – How often? Plan to do aerobic exercise five to seven days per week.

I – Intensity – How Hard? It is best to exercise at a moderate intensity, which is a level where you can carry on a conversation but are still exerting some effort. Some participants are able to exercise at a more vigorous intensity but you should discuss this with the staff of the cardiac rehabilitation program before engaging in these types of activities. Later we will teach you how to monitor your exercise intensity accurately.

T – Time – How Long? Try to exercise without stopping. Your long-term goal is to exercise for a total of 30 to 60 minutes per session. While continuous exercise is best for achieving all the benefits, exercise sessions of as little as 10 minutes can be added up throughout the day.

Aim for 200 to 400 minutes of aerobic exercise per week

T – Type – What kind of activity? Examples of aerobic exercise include brisk walking, swimming, cycling, skating, cross-country skiing, using equipment such as a treadmill or stationary bicycle, or joining dancing and aerobic classes.

Walking Can Be the Perfect Aerobic Exercise.

  • It can be done almost anywhere.
  • You only need a pair of comfortable shoes.
  • No special skills are required.
  • The risk of injury is very low.
  • Ten thousand steps each day is a great way to achieve a healthy exercise goal.

Other Exercise Options

You may also want to consider Nordic walking. It is performed with specially designed poles similar to ski poles. Nordic walking burns more calories than regular walking by using more muscles groups. You can use walking poles to relieve some of the stress on your back and your legs and still get a great workout.

If you have joint or muscle problems, you could also try low impact or chair exercise classes or even have some fun in the water with aqua fitness. You could use recumbent stationary equipment such as a bike or stepper, which has a bucket type seat with a backrest and the pedals or footplates are in front of you instead of being underneath you for greater comfort.


Aerobic Interval Training or AIT is a form of cardiovascular exercise alternating periods of intense exercise with less intense recovery periods. It is a very effective way to train and has been shown to be safe for many clients with various cardiovascular conditions. If you are interested in this form of training, we advise you to discuss it first with the staff of the Division of Cardiac Prevention and Rehabilitation to ensure it is appropriate for you. We can then teach you to apply it to your exercise routine safely.