Any exercise you perform over a period of time without rest counts as a continuous exercise. Because high intensity and resistance interval training is a high impact exercise, stationary cardiovascular exercise represents one of the most common forms of continuous exercise. Aerobic exercises, in general terms, can help you burn calories and improve your health without taking your body to its limits.
Although a long bout of aerobic exercise, such as running a few kilometers, constitutes a continuous exercise, there is no specific time requirement for a routine of this type of exercise. You can run at 50 percent of your maximum heart rate for extended periods of time, or you can run above 90 percent of your maximum heart rate for a few minutes. Generally, a prolonged practice of exercise where oxygen comprises your main source of energy qualifies as continuous. (Go to resource 1)
The specific benefits you get from continuous workouts depend on the exercise you do, but the majority of continuous exercises including aerobics, the benefits will be similar in all areas. Stationary aerobic exercises improve endurance, burn calories and help manage chronic conditions such as high blood pressure and cholesterol. The secondary benefits of continuous exercise include relief of tension and improvement of mood. (Go to resource 2)
Continuous versus cumulative
A 2009 report published in the "Journal of Sports Medicine" comparing continuous versus cumulative exercise practices found no significant difference between the two in terms of health benefits general. The report compiled reports from 16 different studies, most of which reported no differences in cardiovascular improvements between continuous and cumulative exercises. Essentially the frequency of exercise per day is not as important as the total duration of it. (See resource 3)
You can measure your effort rate during exercise by observing your heart rate. To find your heart rate, take the pulse inside the wrist for six seconds and then multiply that number by 10. You can estimate your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most of people is quite accurate when it comes to assessing their own effort rates. If you feel that you are exaggerating, it is possibly true. (Go to resource 4-5).