Anaerobic exercise is a broad category of exercise that primarily uses your body’s supply of carbohydrates (CHO), fat, and protein as fuel, rather than the oxygen-rich blood that’s delivered by the blood supply.
Anaerobic exercise can take many forms, from high-intensity interval training to circuit training and strength training. The type of anaerobic exercise you participate in largely depends on your goals and the time you have available.
Here are some examples of anaerobic exercise:
- High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT): Twice a week, performing short, intense bouts of activity alternated with short periods of rest.
- Circuit Training: A combination of aerobics and strength training that alternates periods of high-intensity activity with periods of low-intensity activity.
- Strength Training: This form of training involves using resistance to build and maintain muscle strength.
- Anaerobic Fitness: Physical fitness that involves the stamina and strength gained from anaerobic exercise.
Maintaining muscle strength? Here’s a read for you to try out! How to Do A Muscle Up: Your Guide To Pulling Off This Challenging Exercise
The Benefits of Anaerobic Exercise
Cardio is important, but anaerobic exercise has its own unique set of health benefits:
When you’re able to engage in activities such as yoga, Pilates or martial arts that involve holding, lifting, or extending your body, you’re training your core muscles, which will help strengthen your posture and reduce back pain.
In addition to improving your posture, anaerobic exercises challenge and improve the range of motion in your joints, which will help reduce any associated pain or stiffness.
Increased Cardiac Output:
High-intensity exercise can increase your heart rate, causing your heart to work harder and expand in size. The result? More blood flowing through your body, delivering oxygen and nutrients to muscles and cells.
Increased oxygen intake and metabolic efficiency result from anaerobic exercise, which means you’ll burn calories more quickly.
The combination of low oxygen concentration and high intensity of anaerobic exercise means the muscles underneath get a serious workout. This in turn, causes the muscles to grow stronger and denser.
The Drawbacks of Anaerobic Exercise
While anaerobic exercise has many benefits, it also comes with a few potential side effects, including the following:
Increased Risk of Injury:
Muscles that aren’t used to working in this fashion will at first experience significant tenderness and soreness, which will subside after a couple of days. The risk of injury is highest during the first couple of months of training.
Increased Heart Rate:
When you engage in anaerobic exercise, your body responds by increasing your heart rate. This can result in your heart beating faster and harder, which is usually accompanied by a mild to moderate increase in blood pressure.
Bright lights, dazzling lights, flashing lights? All of these can impair your vision during anaerobic exercise, which can lead to headaches, eyestrain, or other symptoms.
Increased Sense of Smell:
Some athletes report a heightened sense of smell during and after anaerobic exercise. While this doesn’t seem to be a common side effect, it’s something to be aware of if you’re particularly susceptible.
Which Type of Anaerobic Exercise Is Right for You?
If you’re just starting it’s best to start with a low-intensity activity such as walking or light jogging. This allows your body to become accustomed to generating power without placing additional stress on your joints.
Once you’ve built up your endurance, you can slowly increase your intensity level by adding short intervals of high-intensity activity, such as sprinting or playing a sport, to your routine.
Also, keep in mind that the type of anaerobic exercise you choose to participate in should be enjoyable. If it’s not fun for you, you’re likely to grow weary from it and give up too soon.
Anaerobic exercise is highly effective for burning fat, strengthening muscles, and increasing your cardiac output. It can also improve your flexibility, boost your metabolism, and reduce your risk of heart disease.
If you’re interested in improving your health, it’s best to choose anaerobic exercises that suit your lifestyle and fitness goals. For example, if you’re looking to build muscle, you may prefer weight-training exercises.
However, if you have a limited amount of time, you may want to consider skipping exercises that require a lot of equipment or require you to be in a specific location, and instead, opt for an activity that can be done at home or in the convenience of your own space.