You may frequently hear the terms aerobic and anaerobic exercise, but do you know what they mean exactly?
Do not worry, most of us do not. Although when I hear aerobics, I immediately associate with Madonna and Jane Fonda in their tangas and tights, with their hair in pony tails, dancing and doing jumping jacks to the “Let’s get physical” song.
If that’s what they wear doing aerobics, what do they wear ding anaerobics?
Notwithstanding the outfits worn, aerobic simply means “with oxygen” and anaerobic means “without oxygen”. Aerobic exercise refers to any type of physical activity where you can comfortably breathe and talk while you perform the activity, like running or sports like basketball; while anaerobic exercise is any type of activity that causes you to lose your breath in just a few moments, like strenuous weight lifting or sprinting.
Both activities though, offer a great wealth of health benefits. Aerobic exercises can help regulate our cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure levels. Anaerobic exercises can help increase lean muscle tissues and the body’s ability to burn calories while at rest.
The good news is, you can reap the benefits of both type of exercises by incorporating a few minutes of doing one into the other. If you’re more into weight lifting, then do a 10 or 15-minute session in the treadmill before doing some heavy lifting. Or if you’re more of a runner, lift some weights for about 30-50 repetitions before you do some major running.
Doing anaerobic exercise requires guidance and assistance from a professional trainer, or at least you need to have a guided program before you start. Your program will be dependent on your goal. For example, if your goal is to gain a six-pack-washboard ab, your trainer will provide you with a program and diet that you need to do in a given period.
If you’re aiming to be healthier without necessarily packing or losing pounds (although the latter is often an effect), then aerobic exercise is for you. As mentioned earlier, aerobic exercise, also known as cardiovascular exercise, is any type of physical activity that raises your heart and breathing rate for a sustained amount of time (more than a few minutes). Aerobic exercise is critical to our health and the good news is, it includes simple physical activities such as walking, jogging, running, dancing, or just climbing the stairs.
Aerobic activity is good for everyone, regardless of age, weight, height or athletic activity. It has been shown to reduce the risk of many conditions including obesity, heart diseases high blood pressure, type 2diabetes, and certain type of cancers. Aerobic exercise also increases the body’s high-density lipoprotein (HDL or the “good” cholesterol) and lowers the low-density lipoprotein (LDL or the “bad” cholesterol). Aside from that, aerobic exercises have also been shown to help reduce feelings of anxiety, stress and depression.
To enjoy the benefits of aerobic exercises, aim for at least 30 minutes of activity at least once a day. Any activity that increases your heart and breathing rate beyond what you normally experience during normal day-to-day activities qualifies.
If you had been idle for some time, start slow. Start by doing a five-minute walk in the mornings and late afternoons. Add more minutes to your walking sessions every day and increase your pace. Do this approach with any other physical activities and aim to at least do one exercise for half an hour on most days of the week. Pretty soon, brisk walking for you will only be a walk in the park. Be sure to check with your doctor before starting any physical routine. They can normally recommend activities that will suit you.
www.welcoa.org ( Wellness Council of America)