The truth is, there is no single best aerobic exercise to suit all. It’s just not possible.
But if you want to know which aerobic exercise is best for you, or more importantly the best exercise to meet your health related fitness goals, then that is an entirely different question and one which we can – in the most part – begin to answer.
But before we take a close look at this, it’s worth understanding exactly what health related fitness is and what it means for you.
The components of health related fitness?
Daily life is full of stresses, and the fitter and healthier you are the easier it is to cope with these stresses. Especially when the going gets tough.
So having a general overall fitness, being more robust, should be a real priority for all.
But putting on a pair or running shoes and pounding the roads every day just isn’t the best way to build your general fitness, to help you cope with the stresses of every day life. In fact, it might even be the wrong thing to do.
To explain this more, we need to consider the various components of health related fitness: aerobic capacity (VO2 Max), strength, flexibility, and body composition. And all these together have a huge impact on your general wellbeing and your ability to cope with the perils of every day life.
Your general fitness and exercise regime, and the best exercise for you, will depend on each of these components and what your ultimate goal is.
We are all different, have different body compositions and strength, etc., and all cope with stresses in different ways, so you must tailor your exercise and general lifestyle to suit you. Which is why there is no single best aerobic exercise to suit all.
So how do you find the best aerobic exercise for you?
You really need to ask yourself what your ultimate goal is. Do you want to lose excess weight? (This is where body composition comes in to it.) If so, how overweight are you?
Running is one of the best exercises if you want to burn off a lot of calories, but this is not a good exercise if you are very over weight or a newbie when it comes to exercise. It’s just too high impact on your joints and ligaments. Save it for the time when you are fitter, stronger, lighter, and generally more robust from all your fitness training. Cycling or swimming on the other hand would be ideal. You’ll probably have to work a little longer to burn off the same calories as running, but who cares? You are less likely to suffer an injury, which would put back your ultimate goal by however long it takes for you to recover from the injury!
But what about muscle tone? Is strength and endurance part of your goal rather than weight loss? If so, sitting for 10 hours a week on the stationary bike in front of the TV won’t help you at all. (Well, maybe your legs just a little). Why not try adding some home fitness circuit training into your routine? This will give you a good full body workout, working all your muscles groups. So you get the idea. The best aerobic exercise for you is really dependent on your ultimate goal.
Having said all that, what if you find the theoretical best exercise too boring? If this is the case, then you are likely to talk yourself out of exercise anyway. Then you’ll never reach your goal.
For me, I like to choose different exercise. Sure, I still do the exercises which will help me achieve my goals in a quick and efficient timescale, but I also like to mix things up a little. Varying your exercise will keep you motivated whilst giving you a great all over muscle workout, which will help minimise the risk of over use injuries too.
Bottom line…find the exercise that works for you. Keep it varied, and you will achieve your goals. Take a look at the list of aerobic activities to help you find something to suit you.