You’ve done Anaerobic Exercise. More than once. Intensely, and likely without realizing what you were doing.
Power and intensity are the hallmarks of Anaerobic Exercise. It’s pushing the body hard and fast to force the muscles to grow. Anaerobic exercises include all kinds of movements that get the body to break down glucose to generate energy without using oxygen to do it. That sounds scientific, but really it’s simple.
Anaerobic Exercise makes you feel the burn.
The point is to go short and intense so that you release a lot of energy quickly, making your body’s demand for oxygen outstrip the supply that it’s getting from your lungs and heart. If that sounds almost violent, that’s because it is. The muscles flood with lactate, which breaks down the fibers so that they can reform in stronger sections. Anaerobic Exercise is how muscles get bigger.
Types of Anaerobic Exercise
You probably know a lot of Anaerobic Exercises and have done them yourself on many occasions. You just didn’t know that’s what you were doing! Some of these are exotic exercises that have become mainstream in the last few years, and some are old standbys that people have been doing for a very long time.
- Weight lifting
This means any kind of weightlifting system. Whether it’s at home with free weights, at the gym on a machine, or even weight routines that use body weight to increase muscle mass. Every form of weight lifting is Anaerobic Exercise.
This doesn’t mean jogging or even running, it means sprinting. In gym class at school, this is the relay race. If you’ve ever played hide and seek and run as hard as you could to get to base, you’ve sprinted. Even running to catch a train that you’re about to miss is a good example of a sprint! All out running, hard as you can.
This is an exercise system that’s focused on jumping, known here as “plyos”. Jump squats, tuck jumps, etc. Even jumping rope is a form of plyometric exercise.
Isometrics are low impact weight training. Slow, static, and the opposite of Plyometrics.
- High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
A recent huge fitness fad is HIIT training. It mixes up Aerobic and Anaerobic exercises to burn the maximum number of calories while also building muscle. Spin classes that push intervals or those at home whole body workouts are both good examples.
Getting Better With Age
Anaerobic Exercises are particularly beneficial for people as they age. This form of exercise supports both mental and physical health for people of all ages though.
This form of exercise offers a lot of benefits.
- Improves metabolism
- Builds muscle
- Adds bone mass
- Improves physical performance
- Supports weight loss
- Combats depression
- Reduces the risk of chronic diseases, like heart disease and diabetes
As we age, muscle mass tends to decrease, along with bone mass. Anaerobic exercise is a great way to combat the loss of both. Slowing metabolism is another big issue with age, something that starts in the mid-twenties. Anaerobic Exercise improves metabolism that’s slowed due to the natural aging process. Remember, these exercises don’t have to be hardcore, though they can be. It’s at whatever level the practitioner is at.
Anaerobic exercise is not only beneficial, it’s something you’re familiar with already! Working it into your regular workout schedule is a great way to get all of the benefits of this form of exercise.