Anaerobic vs Aerobic Exercise, Which is Best?

To answer the above question you must first have an understanding of what they are. Aerobic exercises are performed when you elevate the demand for oxygen from your muscles by no higher than 80%.

 The word “Aerobic” means: relating to or denoting exercise that improves or is intended to improve the efficiency of the body’s cardiovascular system in absorbing and transporting oxygen.

 Aerobic exercises allow you to maintain the pace of your workout for sustained periods of time (typically forty minutes to an hour) which not only improves cardio efficiency but burns fat calories.

 The concept of aerobics stems from a book published in 1968, written by Dr.  Cooper. In the book, Dr. Cooper explains that in order to live a healthy life, you must exercise regularly.

 Cooper went on to create a research laboratory where he studied his theory and found proof that aerobic exercise, such as bike riding and running, helps reduce the risk of disease.

 The evolution of aerobics has been vast and has taken on many forms: Zumba, Step classes, Group stationary biking, Kickboxing, Slide Classes, I even saw a cardio weight lifting class once (Go figure). Actually, any exercise that can get your heart rate up to 80% and sustain it can be classified as aerobic.

 Aerobics classes are generally sorted after by individuals looking to improve there stamina and lose weight. Not many people realize that the original purpose of aerobics – as stated by Dr. Cooper- was to cut down on disease.

 While aerobic means, relating to, involving, and requiring the presence of free oxygen, anaerobic means the exact opposite, relating to, involving, or requiring an absence of free oxygen.

 In layman’s terms aerobic exercises allow you to be able to breathe comfortably while exercising, anaerobic exercises throws the body into oxygen debt or starvation.

 Most people who do an aerobics workout still get winded climbing stairs: the case for adding an anaerobic section to your exercise program.

 Anaerobic exercises can only be performed for a few minutes at a time. Think of sprinting vs jogging. You can only sprint for short distances; you can jog miles.

 Anaerobic exercises include things like: Boxing, Karate, Tennis, Basketball, Football, Soccer and more.  While these types of exercises are still “Heart Healthy “ most people who aren’t on a team shy away from them. One of the reasons that people shy away from them is that they are unpleasant to do if you’re not in shape.  The main preparatory workout when planning to do an anaerobic sport is “Wind Sprints”. When you are performing winds sprints it can feel like your heart is going to burst in your chest. Aerobic exercises don’t have that effect.

 But wait! Before you go swearing of anaerobic exercises let me explain some of the benefits because they too are vast. Anaerobic exercises prepare your body for short bursts of speed, like suddenly having to run out of the way of something, hustling up a flight of steps, or running through an airport with suitcases. Because of the energy output, anaerobic exercises can cause you to burn twice the amount of calories in a given workout. In my opinion, because anaerobic exercises strain your heart and respiratory systems when you are working out, they work more efficiently when resting. Lastly, it has been my experience as a professional fighter that, after an anaerobic workout I tended to be more sharp thinking and alert for longer periods afterward.

 One other thing needs to be said about anaerobic exercises: you don’t have to kill yourself doing them, all you have to do is walk, run, swim or whatever faster than you normally would when doing an aerobics workout.

 Here’s how I include an anaerobic exercise with an aerobic exercise: when I have students jumping rope I have them do it in fifteen second intervals; the first fifteen second at fifty percent of their capacity, the second fifteen seconds at one hundred percent of their capacity (this is anaerobic), the third fifteen seconds back to fifty percent, the next fifteen seconds we jack it up to eighty percent.

 The goal is to give students long term endurance and short term speed burst power. You can do the same thing on your daily jog. Instead of running the entire forty or fifty minutes at the same pace try wind sprints in the middle of it. Here’s how you would do it: start jogging, after about ten minutes do a wind sprint, after the wind sprint move smoothly back into a jog. You can even do it walking: walk awhile then go right into a wind sprint, then back to a walk, and back to a wind sprint, etc.

 Though most people choose one or the other, anaerobic or aerobic,  I am a strong proponent of both. If you add anaerobic exercises to your workout you should immediately notice your ability to suddenly run upstairs, across the street, or after a getaway child improve.

 A healthy body is a wealthy body.


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