Aerobics Routines

Tamsen Butler
aerobic exercise

Aerobic exercise is an important part of an overall fitness regimen. Choose a routine that you enjoy and that challenges you to push yourself to new limits while burning calories.

Three At-Home Routines

The CDC recommendation for aerobic exercise varies depending on the intensity; the harder your workout, the less time you need to spend exercising. Aim for 150 minutes a week of aerobic exercise in addition to strength work twice per week.

Try one of the following routines to get you moving. If you're new to exercising - or if it has been a long time since you exercised - start slow to avoid injury and help you ease into your new routine. Progressively work toward more challenging workouts as you feel comfortable. Always check with your physician prior to starting any new exercise routine.

Easy Routine for Beginners

The key to getting started as a beginner to aerobic exercise is to listen to your body. You want to feel challenged, but you should not feel pain or dizziness. Wear comfortable athletic clothing and make sure your shoes are appropriate for exercise so you can avoid hurting your feet and knees.

This workout utilizes the fundamentals of interval training, alternating your effort between low intensity and high intensity. As you progress in your fitness abilities, your interval training will intensify.

exercise routine start
  1. Start with a deep breath in a standing position, stretching arms overhead.
  2. Walk in place for three minutes; playing fast-paced music can regulate your pace and help motivate you.
  3. Make your walking movements a little bigger for three minutes, lifting your knees a bit higher and pumping your arms.
  4. Return to the original easy walk for one minute, then alternate between one minute of easy walking and three minutes of bigger movements. Repeat three times.
  5. Move into a step-touch; this is a side-to-side stepping from left to right. Do this at a comfortable pace for three minutes.
  6. Make the step-touch bigger by pushing your arms out in front of you and making your step wider. Do this for three minutes.
  7. Alternate between the comfortable step-touch for one minute and the bigger movements for three minutes. Do this three times through.
  8. Return to the easy walk for one minute.
  9. Switch to the bigger walk for three minutes.
  10. Return to the easy step-touch for one minute.
  11. Switch to the bigger step-touch for three minutes.
  12. Alternate two times between the easy walk for one minute and the easy step-touch for one minute.
  13. Conclude with an easy stretching routine like the one featured in the video to the right.

This will give you a workout that is approximately 45 minutes in length. Lengthen or shorten the workout by going through one or more of the steps multiple times or by deleting steps altogether. Don't get discouraged if you get winded the first time through, as your body will need time to adjust to aerobic exercise. It won't be long until this workout doesn't feel nearly as challenging as it did the first time you went through it.

If the workout doesn't feel challenging enough, replace the easier movements with some that are more challenging:

  • Instead of walking in place, jog in place or do high knees.
  • Instead of a step-touch, do a squat or jumping jack.

You can also try the intermediate aerobics workout below to see if it challenges you at a more appropriate level.

Intermediate Routine

This intermediate workout also utilizes interval training, but presents more of a challenge than the workout designed for beginners. The quick pace is designed to keep you from getting bored with the movements while also challenging your body.

high knees
  1. Start with a deep breath in a standing position, stretching arms overhead.
  2. Walk in place for two minutes.
  3. Pick up the pace of your walk for two more minutes. While walking, alternate between rolling your shoulders back and raising your hands over your head, meeting in a clap. This works best when listening to music so you can keep to the beat.
  4. Jog in place for one minute.
  5. Move into high knees for one minute.
  6. Alternate between jogging in place for one minute and high knees for one minute, three times through.
  7. Move into deep squats for one minute; this allows you some recovery time while also strengthening your legs.
  8. For one minute, do a quick boxer's shuffle while alternating front punches. Take care to not overextend your arms.
  9. Switch to alternating front kicks for one minute, keeping your arms in an upright guard position.
  10. Move into alternating front and back kicks (right leg goes front, left leg goes back) for one minute, then switch leg directions for one minute.
  11. Switch back to alternating front kicks for one minute.
  12. Do jumping jacks for one minute.
  13. Move into an alternating side squat for one minute. This is your recovery time for this segment.
  14. Starting at #4 above (jogging in place for one minute), go through the series again.
  15. After completing the series twice, move into one minute of pushups.
  16. Hold a plank position for thirty seconds.
  17. Move into your stretching routine; the same routine you used for the beginner routine is appropriate for this routine too.

The above routine can easily be modified to make it easier or harder. The more intensity you give the routine, the harder it will be; for this reason, if you start to feel uncomfortably winded, take the intensity down a little. Conversely, if you don't feel challenged, push your own intensity up or consider trying the advanced workout presented below.

Advanced Routine

This routine takes interval training and transforms it into high intensity interval training. It can be incredibly effective in helping people lose weight, build strength and increase their cardiovascular health. Don't be fooled by the simplicity of the workout; this is a deceptively intense routine.

The key to these workouts is to give the highest level of intensity possible with each exercise. Go all-out for the very best results with this routine. While this routine features hand weights; you don't have to add them if you feel as though your workout is challenging enough without them. If you don't use had weights at first, though, make a goal of eventually adding them to derive the greatest benefits from this routine.

squats
push ups
  1. Start with a deep breath in a standing position, stretching arms overhead.
  2. March in place for one minute with this series:
    • Twenty seconds of marching
    • Twenty seconds of wide marching
    • Twenty seconds of marching
  3. Squat for one minute with this series:
    • Twenty seconds of single squats
    • Twenty seconds of a pulsing squat
    • Twenty seconds of single squats
  4. March in place for one minute with this series:
    • Twenty seconds of one arm stretched across the chest
    • Twenty seconds of the other arm stretched across the chest
    • Twenty seconds of shoulders rolling back
  5. Do this series at your highest intensity possible, three times through:
    • Twenty seconds of bicep curls with hand weights
    • Twenty seconds of fast feet
    • Twenty seconds of tricep curls, either on a bench or with hand weights
  6. Rest for thirty seconds. Don't skip the resting; it's vital to the overall workout.
  7. Do this series at your highest intensity possible, three times through:
    • Twenty seconds of lateral raises with hand weights
    • Twenty seconds of high knees
    • Twenty seconds of push ups
  8. Rest for thirty seconds.
  9. Do this series at your highest intensity possible, three times through:
    • Twenty seconds of overhead presses with a hand weight
    • Twenty seconds of jumping jacks
    • Twenty seconds of front raises with hand weights
  10. Rest for thirty seconds.
  11. Do this series at your highest intensity possible, three times through:
    • Twenty seconds of pulsing lunges on the right leg - hand weights can be held above the shoulders, if desired
    • Twenty seconds of burpees
    • Twenty seconds of pulsing lunges on the left leg - add hand weights, if desired
  12. Rest for thirty seconds.
  13. Starting back at #5, run through the series once again.
  14. March wide in place for thirty seconds.
  15. March in place for thirty seconds.
  16. Stretch; either use the beginner/intermediate stretching routine or try the more challenging version in the video below.

Fit Exercise in a Busy Schedule

If all your time is limited, try squeezing in a few 10 minute workouts into your day instead of tackling 30-45 minute workouts. Three 10 minute jogs spread throughout the day will yield similar benefits to one 30 minute jog. It is far better to exercise in small spurts than to not exercise at all.

More Routine Options

As your cardiovascular capability improves, it is likely your desire to try new forms of aerobic exercise will too. Try new things to challenge your body. Step aerobics, Zumba and water aerobics are just a few of the great options out there that can get your heart pumping and blast calories.

Aerobics Routines