Become Fit with Aerobic Exercise!
Health and fitness programs ‘guarantee satisfaction’, they tell you that their program is top notch and designed to tax your aerobic capacity.
Muscle building programs tell you that you can build muscles in 15 minutes of gym work that completely bypasses the aerobic exercise pathway, push your body into anaerobic mode and immediately burn fat. How do you make sense of all this gibberish?
Let me explain our body energetic systems in terms that I understand. Goodness, this is drawing on biochemistry classes a few years back but it shows you that formal education does have some usefulness in the end.
I think of our bodies energy generation capacity in terms of fast energy and slow energy. Fast energy is energy used to produce explosive and powerful movements which incidentally are achieved by activating fast twitch muscle fibers.
The fast energy system is glycogen dependent. Glycogen is simply an arrangement of glucose molecules into a branch like pattern. The specific pattern is not important, what you need to know is that the branching allows quick access to the glucose when it is needed, hence the fast bit.
The slow energy is generated by slow twitch muscle fibers and are predominantly driven by the breakdown of fats which is a slow process but yields a high caloric value overtime. There is obviously an intermediate group with the mix in between. The trick here is to associate fast energy with aerobic exercise and slow energy with anaerobic exercise.
The benefits of aerobic exercise is the development of immediate capacity. What this means is that you raise your baseline level of function, you are able to recruit more muscles, to lift heavier weights, run further. You may have noticed that once you add activity into the mix the lines between aerobic and anaerobic start to blur.
Let me give you an example. If a coach potato starts to walk, the initial effort is almost all aerobic, but within a short period of time because most of his/her muscle mass (what is left of it anyways) is fast twitch, they simply burn glycogen. Most of their energetic stores are of course fats, so when the glycogen runs out they then start burning fats and go anaerobic. It is almost impossible to isolate one system from another but you are able to push one system more than another.
Aerobic exercise and health are obviously linked while anaerobic exercise and fat loss share a closer relationship. Again, the distinction is somewhat arbitrary but we have got to start somewhere right?
Where does high intensity aerobic exercise fit into this cauldron of geek speak?
Well, that depends. High intensity exercise can be designed to grow muscle or it can be designed to increase lean muscle proportion. One leads to muscle hypertrophy and the other leads to fat cell death. So again, it isn’t the intensity of the exercise but the type of exercise that becomes the most important factor.
You might be getting the idea that a balanced exercise program is essential to achieving overall health. There is no magic ‘one’ exercise that you can do which will make it all go away. Plus, why would you want such a program, imagine how boring it would be.
Your fitness workout should be to centred around developing your aerobic capacity, increase muscle strength, increase lean muscle proportion, decrease fatty tissue but above all to achieve health.
My definition of health is your ability to flow with the demands of life without impediment or restriction. This means you are able to do what you want to do without limitations. If this means playing with grandchildren without throwing your back that is fine. If this means running a marathon without getting injured, that is great. But it is a very personal and special goal health. It is your call as to how far you want to go.
I would give you many aerobic tips but an obvious aerobic tip is do it for a cause greater than yourself. Sure vanity is important, looking good in the mirror does help with the self esteem but in the end, as human being we are driven to do more for others than we are for ourselves. So pick a goal larger than yourself.
Fitness nutrition has a major impact on how your body decides to handle energy but that is a totally different topic that we shall explore a different time. So no matter your age, current work capacity or aerobic metabolism condition, your gender, your current strength, your work, your heart condition, your leg condition, your whatever, you have the ability and opportunity to love your body and make it the most that it can be.
Life is a dance, enjoy it, move with the life force that courses through your body. Eat not for the sake of taste but for the sake of health. Drink for pleasure but not to indulgence. Work as if you loved it. Love as if you will perish the next day. Cherish each passing moment the way your heart cherishes oxygen that flows with each beat. Breathe the fresh air.
Be one with nature and the universe. Tap into your own powers and learn a new skill. Do yoga, take online classes, do pole dancing, do extreme sports, hop out of an airplane and soar through the air.
Live life as your body was designed to live. That is to be in constant ever evolving motion. And be fit by performing aerobic exercise daily!