Aerobic Exercise Benefits and Recommendations

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Aerobic Exercise Benefits

Aerobic exercise provides numerous health benefits shown below. Additionally, aerobic exercise can reverse certain chronic health problems regardless of when a man becomes more physically active.

Aerobic Exercises Benefits


Why Is Aerobic Exercise So Important?

Aerobic exercise improves body composition (increased lean muscle; decreased fat), mood, and sleep quality and duration. Regular aerobic exercise also lowers low-density lipoprotein (LDL or “bad”) cholesterol levels, increases high-density lipoprotein (HDL or “good”) cholesterol levels, and decreases triglyceride levels.1,2

Elevated LDL cholesterol leads to atherosclerotic plaque build up on the inside walls of arteries. This build up ultimately leads to coronary artery disease and other circulatory problems. Additionally, plaque rupture can cause a heart attack or stroke. HDL cholesterol removes LDL cholesterol from the blood stream and thus prevents plaque buildup.

Additionally, aerobic exercise is superior to resistance exercise in its positive blood cholesterol alterations and is the best physical activity for lowering the risk for cardiovascular disease.3,4 Aerobic exercise is clearly beneficial. However, before you embark on an aerobic training program, take our Exercise Risk Factor Analysis to assess your pre-exercise risks. Then, explore more of the Elite Men’s Guide.

Aerobic Exercise Recommendations and Types

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the American Heart Association (AHA) have created the following aerobic exercise recommendations. For all men, the recommendations call for 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise.5

Aerobic Activity

Population Group

Frequency (days/wk)


Duration (min/day)

18-64 yr old men

Minimum 5



Minimum 3



Older Men

≥65 yrs old

Minimum 5



Minimum 3



What are examples of aerobic activities?

When beginning an aerobic exercise regimen, men often consider running as their first and only option. For those men who enjoy running, it is an excellent form of aerobic activity. However, running is not the only aerobic exercise available. In fact, any activity that increases a man’s heart rate for an extended period of time can be considered an aerobic activity. If you don’t enjoy one form of physical activity, choose another that you do enjoy. The key to success in any aerobic activity routine is finding one or more exercises that you enjoy and sticking with them. For more information on the elements of an aerobic exercise routine, see Elements of an Aerobic Exercise Regimen.

The following list provides examples of potential moderate and vigorous intensity exercises.

Moderate Intensity

  • Walking (≤4.0 mph)
  • Bicycling stationary (50-100 W)
  • Bicycling (≤10 mph)
  • Rowing machine (50 -100 W)
  • Swimming (treading water)

Vigorous Intensity

  • Jogging/walking combination
  • Jogging/running (≥4.5 mph)
  • Elliptical training
  • Bicycling stationary (100+ W)
  • Bicycling (>10 mph)
  • Boxing (punching bag)
  • Rowing machine (100+ W)
  • Swimming
  • Stair Climbing

EMG Exercise Homepage: Exercise for Men


1. Heyward VH. Advanced fitness assessment and exercise prescription. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics; 2010.

2. Tran ZV, Weltman A, Glass GV, Mood DP. The effects of exercise on blood lipids and lipoproteins: a meta-analysis of studies. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1983; 15 (5): 393-402.

3. Kokkinos PF, Hurley BF, Vaccaro P, et al. Effects of low- and high-repetition resistive training on lipoprotein-lipid profiles. Med Sci Sports Exerc. Feb 1988; 20 (1): 50-54.

4. Kokkinos PF, Hurley BF, Smutok MA, et al. Strength training does not improve lipoprotein-lipid profiles in men at risk for CHD. Med Sci Sports Exerc. Oct 1991; 23 (10): 1134-1139.

5. American Heart Association Guideline for Physical Activity. American Heart Association.