Many people aim for a daily goal of 10,000 steps (or about 5 miles)—and an industry of fitness tracking devices has emerged to support them—but that magic number didn’t originate from scientific research, says John Schuna Jr., Ph.D., assistant professor of kinesiology at Oregon State College of Public Health. “It was first used in a Japanese marketing effort associated with one of the first commercial pedometers.” The device was called “manpo-kei,” which literally means "10,000 steps meter" in Japanese.
A single activity can include elements of both aerobic and anaerobic exercise. For example, interval training, where you alternate cycles of low-intensity (aerobic) and high-intensity (anaerobic) work during the same workout, has elements of both. So does a game of tennis where you might sprint at one moment (anaerobic) and then move less aggressively for several minutes (aerobic) as you hit ground strokes from the baseline.
Aerobic training increases the rate at which oxygen inhaled is passed on from the lungs and heart to the bloodstream to be used by the muscles. Aerobically fit athletes can exercise longer and harder before feeling tired. During exercise they have a slower heart rate, slower breathing rate, less muscle fatigue, and more energy. After exercise, recovery happens more quickly. Aerobic fitness can be measured in a laboratory setting while exercising on a treadmill or bicycle. This is called maximal oxygen uptake or VO2 max.
The effect of this is even more striking than that of the active foot: the abdominal muscles seem to kick in on their own, and the collar bones drop and straighten in a queenly, warrior fashion. My walk becomes a lot more regal, yet paradoxically, faster. “May I touch you?” Hall asks again, because I can only keep this up for maybe 20 paces before I forget and sink back into my hips.
Aerobic exercises are typically moderate-intensity exercises involving larger muscle groups that are performed over extended periods to improve cardiovascular function. Examples of aerobic exercise include walking, cycling, and pool exercises. Regardless of what type of exercise is used in the aerobic exercise program, maintaining an adequate aerobic dose of 40% to 60% of maximal aerobic capacity (maximum heart rate or Vo2max) is necessary (see Table 47.1). Aerobic exercise has been recommended as part of the management of patients with a variety of rheumatologic disorders in a number of published treatment guidelines.2,3,32,33 Aerobic exercise programs have been shown to reduce pain, improve function and quality of life, increase aerobic capacity and endurance, and improve mental health.2,33-35
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Walking is an accessible and easy way for us all to get more active. Brisk walking that raises your heart rate and makes you warm and slightly breathless is a great form of aerobic exercise. Doing this regularly helps you to get fitter so you will find it easier to be more active and get tired less quickly. You may feel more tired in the first week or two after you start. But if you keep it up, you’ll probably find you soon have more energy than when you were inactive.