Deciding to start an exercise program is a healthy lifestyle choice. There are many ways to exercise and beginners often wonder which type of exercise they should pick. There is no one best answer. It all depends on what you are wanting to achieve and what your goals are. In this article, we will discuss what we should look for when choosing aerobic or anaerobic exercise.
Aerobic Exercise and What It Does
Aerobic exercise is also called cardio respiratory or cardio exercise. An aerobic activity raises the heart and breathing rates by a continuous physical movement for at least several minutes. The heart pumps oxygen to muscles. In turn, the muscles use oxygen to burn glycogen. Almost any sort of vigorous physical activity can be an aerobic workout. Walking, running, swimming, riding a bicycle and sports like basketball are examples of aerobic exercise. Even doing housework or raking leaves are aerobic activities as long as you move continuously and elevate your heart and respiration rates.
Aerobic exercise burns a lot of calories. This makes it an ideal part of weight loss programs. There are many other health benefits. Cardio strengthens the heart and improves lung function. Aerobic exercise is associated with reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes, depression, osteoporosis, stroke and kidney disease.
Anaerobic Exercise and What It Does
Anaerobic workouts consist of performing actions, in short, intense bursts. This forces muscles to use oxygen faster than the heart and lungs can replace it. Anaerobic exercise can’t be continuous like cardio for this reason. Lactic acid, which leads to muscle fatigue, builds up quickly. Weight Lifting, jumping rope and any kind of sprints are examples of anaerobic exercise. Because anaerobic exercise depends on intense effort, it is not generally recommended for someone who has not been exercising. An individual who is out of shape risks injury due to the intense effort required.
Anaerobic exercise increases muscle strength and muscle mass. It builds tolerance for fatigue and thus improves muscular endurance. Anaerobic workouts don’t burn as many calories as cardio exercise. They still help with weight loss because increasing muscle mass causes your body to burn more calories in the long run. Health benefits include lowered risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
Aerobic or Anaerobic?
Deciding on aerobic or anaerobic exercise is not an either/or choice. The Mayo Clinic says everyone needs elements of both to achieve good physical fitness. You should do at least 75 minutes of intense cardio exercise or 150 minutes of moderate cardio exercise each week. Split the time into several sessions of 30 minutes or longer. Do strength training or anaerobic exercise twice each week. Strength training is particularly important as we age. This is because our bodies start to lose muscle mass starting around age 40.
Depending on what you want to accomplish, you can focus on one type of exercise or the other. For example, if you dream of running a marathon, you need a lot of aerobic exercises. A person who plays football needs a lot of muscle strength, so he will emphasize anaerobic workouts.
Diet and Exercise
No matter what type of exercise you do, you need a healthy meal plan. Start by eliminating refined sugar and processed foods when you can. Eat a healthy breakfast to provide energy and avoid food cravings during the day. Build your diet around fruits, vegetables, whole grains and other complex carbohydrates. For protein, choose lean meats, legumes, eggs and low fat dairy products.
If you focus primarily on aerobic exercise, you can consume more calories unless you are trying to lose weight. Anaerobic workouts build muscle mass, which requires extra protein. Most people need 0.8 grams of protein per day per kilogram of body weight. If you are trying to add muscle mass, you may need up to twice a much protein.
Remember that when exercising it is incredibly important to maintain consistency, you will not achieve the results you want if you are not consistent with your workouts meals, and lifestyle. Research shows that it takes 21 days to form a new habit. Forming a new habit can be very tough at first, but what helps is remembering why you are doing it and what you want to get out of it. If you keep your goal in mind every time you go to exercise it will help you get up and moving. Everyone has their own way of keeping their motivation alive, here is an article that may give you some ideas on how you can keep that motivation and consistency going.
Before undertaking any exercise program, consult with your doctor. Discuss your exercise goals. Follow his or her advice to choose healthy and safe activities. Do include some of each to maximize the health benefits.