Aerobic v.s. Anaerobic Exercise – Top 4 Reasons for Each

images[1]Aerobic exercise (a.k.a. aerobics, cardiovascular exercise or cardio) is any sustained, rhythmic activity that primarily uses your larger muscles and challenges your heart and lungs.

Aerobic means “with oxygen,” so when you exercise aerobically your body uses oxygen to help produce energy during the exercise. Your heart and lungs have to work harder to constantly deliver oxygen to your body during aerobic exercise, and this strengthens your heart and lungs.

There are plenty of ways that you can exercise aerobically. You can walk, run, or bike. You can use a treadmill, stationary bike, stair stepper, elliptical machine, or rowing machine. You can participate in an aerobic exercise class. Here are the top four reasons to get moving:

1. Toughens the ticker. Aerobic exercise strengthens the hardest working muscle in your body – your heart. A stronger heart pumps blood more efficiently, which improves blood flow to all parts of your body. Better blood flow results in more oxygen and essential nutrients being delivered to the cells of your body. It also results in more effective removal of toxins and other waste materials from your body.

2. Helps keep arteries clear. Aerobic exercise raises HDL (good) cholesterol and lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol. This results in less buildup of plaque in your arteries. Plaques begin in artery walls and can grow over the years. The growth of cholesterol plaques slowly blocks blood flow in the arteries causing all sorts of health problems.

3. Rallies the respiratory system. Aerobic exercise improves the effectiveness with which your respiratory system can supply oxygen to your body. Your body needs a constant and plentiful amount of oxygen in order to function properly.

4. Reduces body fat. Aerobic exercise not only burns calories, it’s the only type of exercise that directly burns body fat. In order for body fat to be burned, oxygen must be used to help produce energy during the exercise, and this only occurs with aerobic exercise.

 

images[8]Anaerobic exercise is high intensity muscular activity that lasts for a short period of time. Strength training a.k.a. weight lifting or weight training and calisthenics (push-ups, pull-ups etc.) are examples of anaerobic exercise. Strength training is the most effective type of anaerobic exercise. Here are the top four benefits:

1. Builds and maintains lean muscle mass. The loss of lean muscle mass can begin as early as your mid-20s, and it results in a loss of strength, a slower metabolism and decreased functional fitness. The loss of lean muscle mass is not the normal result of aging; it’s primarily the result of a sedentary lifestyle. If you don’t use your muscles they waste away. Strength training is the most effective way to build and maintain lean muscle mass and stay strong and functionally fit.

2. Bolsters bones – strength and density. Millions of people worldwide suffer from osteoporosis. Consuming high calcium food (leafy greens, oranges, beans) or taking calcium supplements to increase bone strength and density is not enough. Bones need to be challenged by weight bearing exercise or they will become soft and brittle. Strength training will increase the strength and density of your bones more than any other type of exercise.

3. Motivates metabolism. The slower your metabolism, the easier it is to gain body fat and the harder it is to lose it. Strength training boosts metabolism because it builds and maintains lean muscle mass. Lean muscle mass is metabolically active tissue, so the more lean muscle mass you have the faster your metabolism will be.

4. Reshapes the body and improves appearance. Vanity! No other type of exercise can reshape your body and improve your appearance like strength training can. Strength training will give you a strong, toned, looking body.

Vanity Is Your Friend

You know one of my favorite sayings is “nothing tastes as good as looking fit makes you feel”. I know it may sound kind of shallow, especially as I try to teach my kids that it’s what’s on the inside that counts. But come to find out, there are a few million people who may agree with me, and there are even studies to back it up.

The word vanity can conjure up all sorts of images, and it can even be applied to the bell curve with most of us falling somewhere in the middle. When it comes to motivation, vanity is a great asset. We all know there are so many health benefits to eating right and exercise including the prevention of:

Heart disease and Stroke

High Blood Pressure

Noninsulin-Dependent Diabetes

Obesity

Osteoporosis

But many people think that these conditions won’t happen to them, so that’s where vanity comes to the rescue and keeps them motivated to exercise and eat right. Yep—people just want to look good. (Many younger women will stop using tanning beds not because of the overwhelming evidence that it causes skin cancer, but because it can cause wrinkles. )

A recent article in the LA Times called “In-Your-Face Fitness: Vanity can be a healthy asset”, offers some interesting facts about the price of beauty(including that pretty people make more money), but the bottom line is that exercising to maintain good looks is just fine because it helps you stay healthy.

Anything that gets people to exercise and eat better is a good reason, even if it might seem a little vain.

Sore Muscles After Exercise-Causes And Cures

Has the energy and vigor experienced during yesterday’s workout been replaced by achy, sensitive muscles? It’s like a friendly, or maybe not so friendly, reminder of yesterday’s activity.

The muscle soreness or stiffness a day or so after a workout is called delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), and it can happen after an intense workout or new activity. This must be part of that no pain no gain thing.

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)

DOMS is muscle pain or discomfort often accompanied by weakness, and it can rear its ugly head around 24-48 hours after physical activity.

DOMS affects everyone a little differently, but the common signs include muscle stiffness, pain, and tenderness. The symptoms usually peak after about three days and then gradually taper off. The aching is a symptom of stress put on the muscle tissue beyond what it is used to.

When the muscle fibers are stretched more than normal, and stretched repeatedly, small tears called “microtears” can occur within the muscle fibers, which can lead to inflammation.

During the days after a workout, the muscle begins to rebuild itself and creates new muscle fiber, and the soreness is related to the inflammation within the muscle during this rebuilding cycle.

Any movement can lead to DOMS, but the most common causes are exercises that involve repetitive contractions of the muscle, where the muscle is contracting while being lengthened at the same time. Think of the downward motion of a bicep curl.

Major culprits are activities like lifting weights, hiking, a new exercise class, and even chores we don’t do every day. DOMS may be greater after a new exercise or activity, or if the intensity is kicked up a notch, also a newbie to exercising may feel more severe DOMS than someone who hits the weights on a regular basis, but I tend to get DOMS quite often… everyone has their own reaction to exercise and activity, and there is not one “right” way to feel after a workout.

There is no simple way to treat delayed onset muscle soreness but here are a few suggestions to ease the pain:

1.Use active recovery. Perform easy low-impact exercises and stretching to increase blood flow and reduce muscle soreness.

2.Rest and recover. Simply wait it out, soreness will go away in 3 to 5 days with no special treatment.

3.Try an ice bath or ice pack. Although scientific evidence is inconclusive, many pro athletes claim they work to reduce soreness.

Some think of DOMS as an accomplishment, others liken it to an offensive tax that nature puts on exercising, but either way it is a natural effect of exercise. (Should the pain remain constant for longer than a few days, medical advice may be in order.)

 

A PURSUIT

You obviously take care of your body. From conditioning your hair and doing your nails nails to all matters of personal hygene. So physical fitness should be no different than combing your hair every day. Of course exercise isn’t as easy as hair care. It’s strenuous and there’s no shortcut to being fit. It requires constant commitment and you’ll have to work at it before there are any visible benefits. Being physically fit is not just about getting a toned body or ripped muscles from pumping iron at an up-scale gym. Fitness is a lot more. It’s a lifestyle improvement which, if you stay faithful to it, will reap countless benefits.

What is fitness?

Fitness is going through the day with a sense of confidence that you can handle whatever the day has in store for you. It gives you peace of mind that you are better equipped to handle the physical challenges of daily life, as well as the mental challenges. Physical fitness is not a race, it’s a pursuit. There is no finish line to look for, but a new starting line to cross everyday. The only real “goal” is to never finish.

Workout Reviews

I always try to mix up my workout, but I have realized that I actually mix up my workouts very little. I change the exercises or the sets and reps, but that is really it. I recently came across an article that described a workout that I have never heard of and concepts that I had never even considered. I printed it out and committed to it for six weeks.

First, I really liked having a workout that specified exactly what to do. I usually go to the gym and make up my routine as I go. Sometimes it will even change depending on what machines are open. Having it written down was almost like having a trainer. There was no guess work or thought about what to do next…. it was all right there for me to follow.

After six weeks, I was in search of another new workout to follow. I am trying to choose routines that are completely different than anything I have been doing, and I will review each routine based on the following criteria:

Desired result – did I make improvements?
Ease of use – was it easy to follow?
Timeframe – how long did it take each day, was the time realistic to commit to each day?
Intensity – did I feel like I had a really great (hard) workout?
Dread factor – did I dread it or look forward to it?
Repeat – will I do this routine again in the future?

***One thing to note: Women, please remember that building muscle or developing muscle does not mean getting bulky or manly. It refers to building muscle tissue which helps burn more calories and makes you look tone and fit.

Check out my “Check This Out” section on the right to get reviews for the exercise routines I am trying.

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