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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Aerobic exercise comprises innumerable forms. In general, it is performed at a moderate level of intensity over a relatively long period of time. For example, running a long distance at a moderate pace is an aerobic exercise, but sprinting is not. Playing singles tennis, with near-continuous motion, is generally considered aerobic activity, while golf or two person team tennis, with brief bursts of activity punctuated by more frequent breaks, may not be predominantly aerobic. Some sports are thus inherently "aerobic", while other aerobic exercises, such as fartlek training or aerobic dance classes, are designed specifically to improve aerobic capacity and fitness. It is most common for aerobic exercises to involve the leg muscles, primarily or exclusively. There are some exceptions. For example, rowing to distances of 2,000 meters or more is an aerobic sport that exercises several major muscle groups, including those of the legs, abdominals, chest, and arms.

Your weight and the distance you walk are the biggest factors in how many calories you burn while walking. A rule of thumb is that about 100 calories per mile are burned for an 180-pound person and 65 calories per mile are burned for a 120-pound person. Your walking speed matters less. Use these charts to learn how many calories you are burning on your walk, depending on your weight and pace for various distances from one mile to the marathon distance of 26.2 miles.


It's a good idea to plan your intervals in advance. Write them down so that you don't have to think about it while you're working out. I also suggest intervals no more than one to two times per week because they are tough workouts and you will need some time to recover. It's okay to do aerobic activity on days in between your intervals, but give your body a chance to recover from the intervals before doing them again.

Regardless of how many calories you burn, adding walking into your daily routine can have profound health benefits! Going on regular, brisk walks can help you maintain a healthy body weight and stave off diseases like diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol and hypertension. In addition, regular walking helps improve bone density and leads to increased muscle strength.

At this point, you have to suspend your disbelief and try it. The concentration it requires beggars belief. Hall says at one point, “it’s like patting your head and rubbing your tummy – it takes a lot of brain power”. I didn’t believe her for one second, but of course it was true. Even chatting at the same time as having an active foot was a challenge. Having an active foot and a hip lift was like trying to do a sudoku while listening to Motörhead.
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