Aerobic & Anaerobic (also
Before we learn about the different types of exercise, it is important
to address differences in body-type.
There are three basic body types: Ectomorph, Endomorph and Mesomorph.
Some of us gain weight with difficulty, some of us put on fat
easily and others easily maintain a high percentage of muscle
mass. The genetic differences between individuals is great. Body
type has little to do with athletic ability or coordination, it
simply relates to metabolism and genetic predisposition to gaining
fat or muscle or staying lean.
Ectomorph. The Ectomorph generally has very high metabolic
rate making it difficult for them to gain both muscle and fat.
The Ectomorph is a naturally lean individual. Ectomorphs need
less aerobics and should do anaerobic / strength building resistance
training with repetitions in the 6 to 10 range.
Mesomorph. Mesomorphs are the individuals who naturally
have excellent proportions of muscle mass and can gain muscle
relatively easily through resistance training. Some mesomorphs
are very lean and defined with "six pack abs" with little
or no exercise. Many professional bodybuilders are typically mesomorphs.
Endomorph. Endomorphs are people who tend to put on fat
easily. Endomorphs tend to have a lower metabolic rate and require
more aerobics and higher repetitions in resistance training, preferably
12 - 20 reps, in order to burn more calories. Adding muscle through
anaerobic exercise helps the endomorph's fitness tremendously
by increasing their basal metabolic rate (muscle burns more calories
at rest than fat).
Aerobic & Anaerobic Exercise
There are two basic types or modes of exercise: aerobic and anaerobic. Aerobic exercise promotes cardiovascular fitness by raising
your pulse to a targeted level. It is recommended that you exercise
at your target heart rate for thirty minutes, three times a week.
These excercises strengthen your heart, and allow the heart to
pump more blood. Aerobic exercise improves the capacity of the
lungs, helps control weight, and increases muscle and joint flexibility,
making you less susceptible to injury. Some examples of aerobic
exercise are walking, jogging, bicycling, swimming, racquetball,
and aerobic dance. Aerobic exercise also helps to reduce risks
associated with developing heart disease.
How long you perform aerobic exercise will depend on your goals,
schedule, and physical condition: 10 to 60 minutes is an acceptable
range of time. If your goal is body fat loss and you are appropriately
conditioned, then longer is better: at least 30 minutes with 40
to 60 minutes preferred. Recent research shows that aerobic fitness
levels can improve with as little as 10 minutes duration - as
long as exercise is performed often: 2 to 3 times a day, 5 days
a week. To balance general fitness, health, body composition,
and scheduling concerns, 30 minutes is optimal for many people.
It is a common misconception that aerobic exercise tones/firms
muscles. Actually it accomplishes very little toning/firming.
In a typical aerobic workout, your active muscles perform hundreds
of repetitions with a relatively low load/resistance placed on
them; which is an ineffective toning/firming stimulus. Resistance
exercise (weight training) is where real toning/firming of muscles
occurs. Another misconception is that one must exercise aerobically
at a low intensity to lose fat. Recent research has shown that
we may exercise at any intensity for effective fat loss.
Anaerobic exercise focuses on specific muscles and their
size, endurance, and strength. Weight lifting and resistance training
are examples of anaerobic exercise. This form of exercise provide
many benefits and is a good supplement to your aerobic work-outs.
It may also increase bone density.
Resistance training is designed to improve either muscle strength
or size. The muscle cells are purposely damaged through a process
of overloading, the body reacts instinctively to repair the damaged
cells so they can cope with any future overload, increasing their
size and strength in the process. The muscles themselves do not
actually increase in number, as some might think: the human body
has a genetically defined number of muscle cells. Muscular fitness
is a combination of strength, endurance and flexibility. Resistance
training occurs over a short time frame and does not necessarily
improve endurance capacity or for that matter flexibility. There
may even be a decrease in endurance capacity because as the muscle
cells grow the fluid between the cells, essential to oxygen transportation,
Strength training is also important for your abdominal muscles
- not the washboard abdomen, but the ones that come across the
side. They’re called the oblique or lower-abdominal muscles. They
should be strengthened because everything you do gets support
from there. All leg and arm movement depends on having a strong
spine, and the abdominal muscles support the spine. You should
have a trained individual show you how; someone from a reputable
health club, a physical therapist or an athletic trainer.
Remember, there are many benefits to exercise. It can help you
sleep better, be more alert, handle stress better, and even look
and feel better. Choose an exercise program that fits your particular
needs, however, a complete exercise program should include some
form of both aerobic and anaerobic exercise. If you're over thirty-five
or have had medical problems, talk to your health doctor before
beginning your exercise program. For more information on aerobic
and anaerobic excercise, and the fundamentals of energy systems,
please review our section on physiological
systems of the body. Always contact an exercise specialist
if you are unsure which type of program to pursue.