An open letter to Ed:
He was of the mid that the snowboarding we had done was anaerobic – “no I said aerobic … anaerobic is more like sprints and squash and some parts of footie” takes a long time to explain in the car and he was chatting about the way slip differentials on a car work (I think).
So typical examples of aerobic training include distance running and cycling.
The opposite of this is anaerobic, meaning ‘without air’. During anaerobic activity, such as powerlifting and sprinting, the body’s requirement for energy exceeds that provided by breathing. Without enough oxygen, the muscles’ ability to perform is dramatically reduced and can only function for short, intensive bursts.
Aerobic and anaerobic are words originally applied by bacteriologists to bacteria. Aerobic the word applied to the bacteria requiring free oxygen in order to live. Anaerobic the word applied to the bacteria able to live and survive in the absence of oxygen or air.
Later, as exercise started to become more and popular, these words were adopted to designate certain types of exercise. Most everyone is familiar with “Aerobic Exercise”. Not everyone is familiar with non-aerobic or anaerobic exercise.
When performing a set of aerobic exercises you are causing the body to utilize oxygen in order to create energy. The oxygen is needed to breakdown glucose. Glucose is the fuel needed to create energy. However, the opposite applies to anaerobic exercises. In anaerobic exercises the body creates the energy without oxygen. This basically is because the body’s demand for energy is greater so that it will find natural body chemicals to create it.
Breathing properly when exercising is very important. The air enters the lungs and the oxygen in the air is passed through the lining of the lungs. The oxygen is taken up by the red blood cells. The red blood cells enter the circulating blood carrying the oxygen. The blood goes to the heart and is circulated throughout the entire body. The muscles use this oxygen for the needed energy as it is being used will give off a waste product (carbon dioxide). The carbon dioxide (CO2) is in turn released into the blood stream and returned to the lungs to be exhaled.
The above explanation may be simplistic in its description. However, I assure you it is an extremely complicated feat of nature. That is why it is important to know why and how you are exercising. Your heart rate when 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% of your maximum rate. When the heartbeat is faster than the 70% you are doing aerobic exercises. This is further complicated by resting heart rate and fitness but the above guide is pretty close for most people.
How exercise is performed will determine it to be aerobic or anaerobic. Any type of movement your body makes requires the use of energy. You don’t have to do aerobics to lose weight or maintain a desired weight. It has been determined that anaerobic exercise will burn more calories than aerobic exercise, on a ratio of 5 to1 basis, and even as much as a 7 to 1 ratio. The aerobic exercise will burn 25% muscle and 75% fat, while anaerobic exercise will burn 100% fat.
Examples of aerobic exercises are:
- Aerobic classes / Step class (fast movements).
- Exercise bicycles
- Ski machines
Examples of anaerobic exercises are:
- Weight lifting
- Machines that offer high resistance
Anaerobic exercises use resistance so that you will also be building muscle and bone as an added benefit. Aerobic exercise will have more of an impact on the cardiovascular and circulatory system. Combining the two would give the greatest health benefits.
So which do you do?
Are you the kind of chap who spends hours pummelling the pavement to get your fitness hit? Or are you always in the squat rack perfecting your one-rep max?
Summary: Ed you are an aerobic machine