Any activity you do — from taking a walk to washing the dishes — requires oxygen. Regular aerobic fitness exercise increases your body’s ability to use oxygen, burn more fuel and fight fatigue. How well you use oxygen is termed your “aerobic capacity.” When your aerobic capacity is high, your heart, lungs and blood vessels efficiently transport and deliver large amounts of oxygen throughout your body.
From a golf and training perspective, developing and aerobic base for the next 90 days will improve both golf and form a base for other fitness activities. Having more endurance means that weight training will be more effective because your body can metabolically re-cycle the lactic acid produced in exercise enabling you to work longer, at a higher intensity.
The key to achieving aerobic fitness is to find fitness training activities that you enjoy and can do regularly. Aerobic exercise at least 20 minutes in length is required to obtain health benefits, and if you want to drop body fat, you need to extend that to 40+ minutes. To really build aerobic fitness, you should perform aerobic training at least 4 days per week. 3 days per week will maintain, but not develop your fitness.
Intensity is possibly the most important factor in improving aerobic fitness. Get a simple heart rate monitor and use it when performing aerobic exercise because it will make you accountable and you will end up burning more calories.
If you use the heart rate charts, add at least 10 b.p.m. per training zone because the initial heart rate studies were done on men, who have larger hearts per pound of body weight than women, which means women ramp up heart rate faster in response to exercise than men. The problem with universal heart rate charts is they are oriented to the numbers valid for men, not women, so add 10 b.p.m. per zone as a starting point. If you really want to be tuned into your real numbers, then get a VO2 Peak assessment to measure actual heart rate response during exercise, which can be used to develop personal heart rate zones specific to your metabolism.
A final factor to consider is modality, or type of exercise. If you want to get fitter faster, or lose weight, do as many different activities as possible. If you want to run faster, then use running as your primary mode of exercise. However, research has demonstrated that by switching up activities you can burn as much as 15% more kcal than predicted because you aren’t use to any one activity. An example of this in a 4-day a week program would be jogging, spinning, elliptical followed treadmill walking at grade. The key is to do a different type of exercise each day to increase your energy burn.