Aerobic exercises make you breathe more deeply making your heart work harder to pump blood. These improve the health of your heart and lungs. Walking, jogging, running, bicycling, swimming, rowing, skiing, aerobic dancing—are all aerobic exercises
Effects of aerobic exercise
- Increased maximal oxygen consumption (VO2 max, i.e. maximum capacity of a person’s body to transport and utilize oxygen during exercise, which reflects the physical fitness of that person)
- Increased maximal cardiac output (i.e. amount of blood pumped with each minute)
- Maximal stroke volume (i.e. amount of blood pumped with every beat)
- Increased blood volume and ability to carry oxygen
- Reduces workload on the heart.
- Increased High Density Lipoprotein (HDL) levels—the good cholesterol, decreased triglycerides
- Improved glucose tolerance and reduced insulin resistance
Aerobic versus Anaerobic Activities
Aerobic exercises use up oxygen which is required to breakdown glucose for energy production. Whereas, anaerobic exercises produce energy without oxygen. The difference between aerobic and anaerobic exercises lies in the intensity of an exercise. Aerobic exercises are done at a pace or intensity that do not require to use up the non-oxygen dependent or anaerobic sources of energy. For example, to run a distance of 100 metres, your need of oxygen is greater than the supply available; therefore you leg muscle must use non-oxygen dependent energy. In doing so, there would be a built up of lactic acid. Lactic acid can give muscle ache; but this is generally temporary.
Practice improves your ability to transport oxygen to the muscles and for the muscles to use oxygen to the muscles and for the muscles to use oxygen from the blood from energy production. With practice you can arrive at the best times, when lactic acid production is less and you complete your 100 metres run easily without a muscle ache or fatigue. Hence, a person should concentrate on a sport requiring better anaerobic fitness like sprinting, with some aerobic exercise also included to improve overall fitness.
Your heart rate while exercising can determine whether you are doing aerobic or anaerobic exercise. The maximum heart rate for men is 220 less your age. For women it is 225 less your age. The goal rate for exercising should be 70 per cent of your maximum rate. When the heart beat is faster than 70 per cent is shows you are doing aerobic exercises.
It is said that anaerobic exercise burns more calories than aerobic exercise on a ratio of 5:1 or even 7:1. An aerobic exercise will burn 25 per cent muscle and 75 per cent fat, while an aerobic exercise will burn 100 per cent fat. Moreover, anaerobic exercises use resistance, so a person will be building muscle as well as bone. Aerobic exercise on the other hand has more impact on the cardiovascular system. The best is to combine both for maximum health benefits.
Aerobic exercise include brisk walking, treadmills, exercise bicycles, jogging etc while anaerobic exercises include weightlifting, resistance machines, dumbbells etc.
Work against the force of gravity. These are good for building strong bones preventing osteoporosis and bone fracture later in life. These include walking, jogging, hiking, climbing stairs, dancing and weight-training.
Such exercises build strength and muscles. Lifting weights and calisthenics like push-ups can help build up your muscles. These are generally chosen by young adults. Muscle tissue is heavier than fat tissue, and exercising develops muscle to a certain degree while burning fat.
Benefits of strength training:
- Improves flexibility (i.e. range of motion of joints)
- Increases muscular strength, tendons and ligaments
- Increases lean body mass and reduced body fat
- Improves glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity
- Improves balance and functional ability in elderly
- Decreases resting systolic and diastolic blood pressure
- Brings about positive changes in blood cholesterol