October 15, 2017
I usually reserve Sundays as my aerobic workout days, and this often means heading outside for a moderate jog on the Capital Crescent trail! I thought I'd take the opportunity to post about aerobic vs. anaerobic exercise.
Aerobic exercise increases the use of oxygen throughout the body as the body burns fat. Anaerobic exercise gains its energy from sugar and will likely not raise metabolism.
True aerobic exercise must be done in a sustained heart rate zone, meaning your heart rate does not drop below or raise above a certain range for the entire duration of the exercise ( I usually shoot for 30-40 minutes in the zone). Therefore, true aerobic exercise is often jogging, or sustained swimming or biking (no breaks where heart rate can drop or bursts where it can raise too high). Anaerobic exercise covers everything else- weight lifting, soccer, basketball and other sports, yoga, pilates, etc.
Not only is exercise an important part of maintaining proper body composition, but aerobic exercise in particular helps us stabilize our blood sugar levels. Most people tend to get more anaerobic exercise than true aerobic exercise. When people want to drop fat, and are exercising, but are not happy with their results, one reason for this could be improper aerobic exercise.
So how do you properly aerobically exercise? We have Dr. Phil Maffetone to thank for this formula! He found that the following heart rate zone formula not only puts you in a fat-burning zone, but is safer than other heart rate zone formulas. The formula is:
So, for example, me being 31 years old, I want to stay in a heart rate zone of 139-149 bpm for the entire duration of my run. I slowed down to keep my heart rate from going above this zone when I took this picture (it gave me a good opportunity to take a photo).
Seem low to you? Yes, exercise in this zone should be less intense than you would expect or would normally do when you work out. The entire goal is to continue to train in this true aerobic zone, and over time, you will observe that you are able to run, swim, or bike farther faster but remain in this zone. This is what it means to become truly conditioned! You can observe your health change as your aerobic capacity increases.
Studies found that athletes performing aerobically in higher heart rate zones, while also becoming conditioned, were suffering more injuries or health issues in the long run. This is a safer, yet accurate and efficient, way to aerobically train.
Exercise is meant to be restorative and health promoting. Often, when we push ourselves too hard, and our heart rate zones higher, we are just adding stress to our already burdened bodies. Exercise should leave us feeling wonderfully energized.
Now join me in starting to aerobically exercise today!