My sister Karen says, “movement is better than no movement” and she is absolutely right! The best exercise is not the one that burns the most calories in the least amount of time, nor is it the one that sustains activity for the longest period, the one that causes the most/least sweat, highest/lowest impact, uses heaviest/lightest weights – it is none of those and it is all of those. Most important though, the best exercise is the one you do.
So, with all that background in mind, what follows are the basic movement components of any Well-ageing Exercise Plan.
The Department of Health and Human Services(HHS) recommends 150 to 300 minutes per week of moderate to vigorous-intensity physical activity. HHS, in its’ 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee Scientific Report further emphasizes that for individuals whose amount of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity is below this target, “even small increases in moderate-intensity physical activity provide health benefits." and [just as Karen says] "[T]here is no threshold that must be exceeded before benefits begin to occur.” 
What qualifies as aerobic exercise? Any consistent and repetitive movement or series of movements that elevate your heart rate over an extended period of time Use your imagination or stick with the classics. Aerobic exercise takes all forms.
Hoops, Hula or Hula Hoops
What qualifies as aerobic exercise? Any consistent and repetitive movement or series of movements that elevate your heart rate over an extended period of time Use your imagination or stick with the classics. Aerobic exercise takes all forms. Here are just a few of the many different activities that qualify:
Wherever you are, that’s where you start. Always work to your own level. If that means chair aerobics and stability exercise, that’s great! If you are new to aerobic exercise and your doctor (whom you always consult before starting any program, yes?) advises exercise, but starting slow, that’s great too! Start small. Five minutes, two or more times a day is a good way to begin. When this gets easy, add another two to five minutes, until you work up to your target level of 20 to 60 minutes three to five times per week.
If on the other hand, you are an aerobic machine who has reached a plateau, perhaps it’s time to add more variation to your practice or you might want to try high intensity interval training (HIIT). And whatever your level, don’t forget about Aqua Fitness; it can be mild and gentle, or vigorous and challenging, while protective of joints and cartilage damage, and minimizing pressure on the spine.
Two or three days of strength and balance training are also recommended and are especially important for mature adults and seniors. Both are necessary to guard against osteoporosis, muscle loss and losses to stability, reaction time and coordination. This too can be done on dry land, or as part of an aqua aerobics fitness practice. While weight-lifting on land is a gravity defying muscle workout, buoyancy opposition works the same muscles in the water – gently and with less risk for injury.
Lastly, flexibility should be a part of every workout – aerobic, strength or balance. Five to ten minutes at the end of the workout – it’s much safer to stretch warm muscles than cold, and a great way to end your workout.
Remember where we started this post: the best exercise is the one you do. So choose something you know and enjoy or something new that sounds like fun; set it to the music you love; do it with a friend or friends, old or new; laugh at your mistakes, and give it a chance. The first time you try a new physical skill may be awkward and frustrating, but as your nerves introduce themselves to your muscles and make new connections, the learning curve will be steep. Early skill development comes fast... Before you know it, that hula hoop is spending its time on your waist - not on the floor!
What's your best experience with aerobic exercise? What have you found to be the most fun, most satisfying, or most creative or unlikely experience you've had? Why? We'd love to hear from you.
And as always, be sure to advise your health care providers(s) and obtain clearance before attempting any exercise program.
Thanks for looking in.
 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee. 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee Scientific Report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2018.