Aerobic Exercise On The Cheap
You have no doubt heard of all the benefits of aerobic exercise. If you have read my previous article, you would know that the line between aerobic and anaerobic exercise is quite blurred when it comes to how the body utilizes them.
There is a constant cross over with different percentage of usage depending on activity but it is close to impossible to only use one energetic system over another. Having said that, aerobic exercise can be generally thought of as exercise that requires the burning of oxygen which creates a lot of energy. This form or energy is sustainable over long period of time as it is renewable and the waste products do not accumulate.
Fit people generally have high aerobic capacity, ie they can perform high intensity exercise over a prolonged period of time. Their muscles are generally slow to intermediate twitch type which allows for the aerobic endurance. When you evaluate your health goal, it is important to look at fitness training that does tax your cardio system.
So how exactly does aerobic exercise work?
First you need air, then there is the rate of activity and a certain amount of weight that needs lugging around.
Aerobic activity is the zone of activity where you are able to breathe whilst exercising. A good indicator of whether or not you are using your aerobic or anaerobic system is whether or not you are able to whistle while you perform the activity.
Like joggers who can talk while running are generally using their aerobic system. When you are running at a comfortable pace, your breathing is even, you have minimal ups and downs and you are in control. When you up the rate of running then you start to move into anaerobic where you breathing becomes labored, you experience loss of ease, your muscles start to tense up and you find that you have to drop your intensity or terminate your workout.
There are a lot of great books that teach you how to run a marathon or become an elite runner. But for me those are unimportant because running in a straight line for miles on end is boring and sort of impractical. Life doesn’t challenge you in one dimension so why should your exercise be that way too.
Walking is aerobic, it burns calories, is easy and enjoyable, you can walk almost anywhere on any terrain, in fact, walking is one of the single best exercises that I know of. Of course there is jumping and lunging and a whole range of other movements but to start off, simple is best. I find that the simpler I can get a program the better I personally retain and follow it.
So is this article about aerobic versus anaerobic exercise and which is better? No, definitely not. The goal of this article is to help you realize that your breathing is the major brake/accelerator on your aerobic training. Whatever activity you do once your breathing starts to become labored then you need to reduce the intensity of the exercise to get back into the aerobic zone.
The types of exercise that you do really do not matter that much.
The traditional way of thinking is that aerobic exercise is cardiovascular exercise and anaerobic exercise is high intensity muscle building exercise that produces a lot of lactic acid. The form of aerobic exercise varies according to an individuals level of fitness. The higher your aerobic capacity the more types of exercise become aerobic as you are able to sustain it longer at a higher level.
Don’t get stuck on the varieties of aerobic exercises that you can find on the internet. Know that no matter what exercise program you are performing, as long as you are able to breathe through it you will be building your aerobic capacity. Anaerobic exercise is simply the inability to breathe, so when your breathing gets shallow and hard, you know you have pushed too hard.
Why is aerobic activity important in your fitness regime? For one, it is the system that helps remove majority of waste products from your body. When you want to build muscle you create a lot of toxins. And you need a strong aerobic program to ramp up the aerobic metabolism so that these toxins are removed.
At the end of the day, a balanced exercise program is essential. There is no such thing as just aerobic exercise or anaerobic exercise.