After discussing proper goals and how to discover what form of exercise will work best for our individual personalities, we should clarify the difference between aerobic and anaerobic exercise as well as how they affect our body. What is aerobic exercise? How can an anaerobic workout be beneficial in conjunction with a good aerobic routine? These are questions to be answered and discussed in the next few articles.
Aerobic exercise is anything that gets our heart pumping faster for an extended period of time. What exactly does that mean? Machines such as the elliptical, treadmill, stair climber, and others that simulate outdoor activities such as running, biking, hiking, and almost unlimited others were all made for the purpose of providing a cardiovascular workout.
As a good rule of thumb, a person’s heart rate should be somewhere between 120-160 beats per minute to get a good aerobic workout; there are many factors affecting the ideal heart rate range for each person, but in general people should make sure they exercise at a rate that makes talking in full sentences during exercise difficult. The amount of time people use for one exercise session is also an important factor in determining whether the activity is aerobic or anaerobic.
Our body prefers to use glucose as energy for daily tasks, including exercise, because it is quickly converted to energy and readily available. As a result, people need to exercise for an extended period of time, at least 20-30 minutes, in one session in order to get their body fully warmed up and primed for aerobic activity.
As glucose gets used up as a fuel source for our body, it starts to switch over to breaking down fat to be used for the same purpose. To put into perspective how difficult it is to lose fat, consider the following: one molecule of glucose will provide approximately 38 units of energy (also known as ATP), whereas one molecule of fat provides about 131 ATP! It takes time to convert fat to ATP, thus the importance of exercising for at least 20-30 minutes in one session with your heart rate at 120-160 beats per minute.
Aerobic exercise is very important for not only cardiovascular health, but as discussed in this article, it is also very important for burning our stored fat. Future articles can go in much more depth regarding aerobic exercise and how to tweak our routine to get the most benefit and reach personal goals, but next we will take a look at anaerobic exercise and how it can benefit everyone’s daily fitness routine.