Your Aerobic Programme

By now you should realise that you do not need a coach! You do not have to approach an exercise physiologist to design a special workout routine.

Sure! Talk to experts and get their advice but I feel you are better off designing your own Aerobic Programme so that it suits you.

Simply remember to start easy and stick at it! But remember.  Depending on your age and fitness level it is always a good idea to visit your local doctor for a thorough check-up.

  • Time

For me personally the optimum aerobic work-out time is 20 minutes.  If I am feeling really good then a maximum of 30 minutes is definitely tops.

I tend to feel satisfied at around the 18 minute mark.

For that most important training effect you will need to eventually be able to work with your pulse 120-130 + for somewhere between 12-20 minutes.

Not long is it?

  • How Often?

All the research indicates that


Is the key.

A little like going to the toilet.

Once a week may produce the same elimination result but a little each day would have been much better for both you and your body.

So with that in mind I aim to do an aerobic work-out every day.

In reality I would average 5 workouts every 7 days.  I tend to feel that if you aim for say 4 workouts a week you may not reach it.

So aim a little higher and you will be fine.

  • When?

When you actually do your workout will obviously vary from individual to individual and will also depend on your work and family commitments.

If it is possible I believe it is far better to do your workout early in the morning.  Firstly you are fresh and not tied down with problems that may occur.

Later in the day fatigue may set in, too hot, social arrangements come up, problems arise and you spend all day trying to squeeze in your workout.

Besides if you get it done in the morning you start the day well and all day you can say “No Problems!  I’ve done my workout”.

Many others find it very convenient to do their workout at lunch-time, shower and be refreshed for the afternoon.

It will vary but just make sure that your workout is your daily priority  and do not regularly let the hustle and bustle of our crazy life-style stop you from working on your fitness level.

In fact, right now it is Sunday morning, very hot and I have just returned from a 25 minute (felt good) jog and I feel just great.  It is a satisfying feeling both physically and mentally.  There is no doubt it sets you on the right track for the rest of the day.

Just out of interest at the finish of my jog which included a lot of hills around Avoca Beach my pulse was 150 bpm.  In the following 5 minutes it was 114, 104, 92, 84.

As I’ve said before, this is the reward! Many people feel that Recovery Rate is the best test of your personal fitness.

Be very careful that you do not worry about your aerobic workout.  Use your Personal Fitness Record Card and if you have a bad day today, make an effort to have a good day tomorrow.

We all have bad days but we, cannot keep having bad days and survive.

  • What Type?

They say variety is the spice of life and nothing is truer than in regard to your aerobic workout.

Have a look at your environment and see what is available for the following:


The list could go on forever.  Often a combination of a number can be very beneficial.

Example of a neighbour’s workout

  1. 5 minute swim (at home)
  2. 5 minute walk or 5 minute slow jog
  3. 5 minute jog (2-1/2 minutes each way)
  4. Relaxed swim (at home)

For him it is like a mini Biathlon.  I really do not want to get into the old argument of what is the best aerobic exercise.  What suits you and your interests is really the BEST .

  • Your Pulse

This is so important.  It is your guideline to the success of your programme and also measures your improvement level over the years.  Take your pulse at the CAROTID (neck) using 2 fingers.

I normally take my pulse for 15 seconds and multiply by 4.

This accurately tells you how hard your heart is working.

Remember not to go above your training threshold but eventually aim to be in training zone with a minimum pulse of 120 beats per minute.  Taking your pulse is totally normal.  I guess it is a little like looking at the fuel gauge at the end of a journey in your car.  Both will tell you how you are going!

  • Who With?

Especially in the early stages of your programme you may need the encouragement of a friend or two.  In fact even now I find it much, much easier to work out with a friend and talk rather than work on my own.  Other times however I find I enjoy my own company as I get away with the “fairies” and sort out the problems for the day.  Again variety is a good thing.

  • Where?

Use your local environment as much as possible but these days it is not a big expense to also set up an effective home gym.  I have just moved into some units which have a small gym and it is so convenient to work out at known times during the day or night.  It is rare for me now to miss a workout as a gym takes the weather out of play.

As you have probably guessed I like to jog!  I find it easy, relaxing and takes very little organisation.  If you are going to jog please invest in a good pair of shoes.  Then learn the correct jogging technique.

  1. roll out slightly to the lateral (outside) side of the foot
  2. heel down first
  3. take small steps (heel just in front of opposite foot)
  4. stretch before and after you run
  5. inhale and exhale deeply from the start of your run
  6. let your arms relax
  7. warm up and cool down

Many people dislike jogging because they RUN not JOG.

I am pleased to report that I now really enjoy brisk walking and I have to admit it is natural and very little wear and tear on the body.  I like JOGGING but do not particularly like RUNNING.

JUST OUT of interest I timed myself over the same 1 kilometre course doing the following three activities:

Activity Distance Time Pulse
Comfortable walk 1 klm 10 mins 92 bpm
Brisk walk 1 klm 8 mins 115 bpm
Comfortable jog 1 klm 5 mins 128 bpm


I was pleasantly surprised that the brisk walk even after years of jogging proved to be reasonably good exercise and obviously would be great for people just starting.

Doing this walk reminded me of the time I had jogged to the local shops and my wife, Anne, was just getting into our car.  “Pick me up” I called and raced down the road aiming to get my pulse up.  I reached the next corner (400 metres), continued to race up Austral Avenue (big hill) expecting to hear the car horn every step I took.  Finally the top of the hill, exhaustion – pulse 220 bpm.  CRAZY!  Still no car!   Heck am I faster than a car, speeding train or bullet.  No! Anne had stopped to talk to a friend!

Amazing how you can work hard if you have a strong mental attitude!  I thought I was going to stop the next step and so I was able to push much harder than normal.  I guess champion athletes learn to push through this barrier even though they are not going to stop in the next step … interesting.

Please remember the stages of Fitness.

“Rome was not built in a day”.

Give yourself time to build up your aerobic capacity and 6 months from now you will really wonder how you survived all those years without this type of daily activity.  Could this be “the start to a better you?”

But please …


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