Fitness Education Blog

The Importance of Aerobic Exercise

with Greg Amorelli

First off, let’s get a clear definition of what Aerobic exercise is. The term Aerobic Exercise means exercise done "with oxygen" and this type of work, in turn, provides cardiovascular conditioning depending on the intensity and duration. During aerobic exercises, the body uses oxygen to break down fat (at lower intensities) into energy (ATP) in the mitochondria (the powerhouse of the cell!). The American Heart Association recommends a minimum of 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise 5-7 days per week, and this can mean anything from a steady-state cardiovascular workout (run, walk, swim, etc) to a string of full-body exercises done in a sustainable fashion (Group X, Tribe). Without going too much into the science, anytime you do consistent work over 2-3 minutes, the body relies primarily on aerobic metabolism to function.

Aerobic exercise is incredibly important for so many factors:

  • Overall health

  • Recovery, when done at low intensities

  • Improved body composition

  • Improves almost every type of performance.

While aerobic work for endurance athletes is an obvious benefit, even a powerlifter who partakes in a 20 min walk, 3x a week will see marked improvements in their recovery, meaning that they will be able to train more frequently and more intensely each session.


But the AHA recommendations of 30 min, 5-7 days per week doesn’t mean you have to chain yourself to a treadmill! Try these suggestions:

30+ min of…

  • Steady-state exercise (walk, run, swim, bike, row)

  • Mixed Steady State Movements (example)

    • 3 sets of:

      • 4 min easy run

      • 3 min ski erg

      • 3 min stationary bike

  • Take one of the DAC’s Group X classes (just keep it low intensity… breath through the nose)

  • Take your favorite Crossfit WOD and walk it… yep, you heard me… Walk it!


While high-intensity training is a big buzzword these days, remember that your aerobic system partially supports that high-intensity work. So make sure to do some low-intensity work as well!

Greg Amorelli

CSCS / CCC / NASE 2 / PN1 / CF1 / CPT

Greg is a certified Strength and Conditioning Coach with 14 years of experience in exercise and performance. He is currently working on his master’s degree in Exercise Science.