• 9 Benefits of Anaerobic Exercise for All Athletes

Exercise of any kind is beneficial for our physical and mental health, but certain types of movements are better than others.

Anaerobic exercise isn’t just for athletes; it’s a great way to add short, fast, high-intensity workouts into your life. If you want to lose weight, build muscle, and train for that marathon you’ve always wanted to run, include some anaerobic movements.

What is Anaerobic Exercise?

Anaerobic means “without oxygen” or “without air.” Anaerobic exercise includes workouts where the body’s demand for oxygen is greater than the available supply, which means your body has to depend on oxygen stored in the muscles.

Anaerobic metabolism includes glycolysis, which converts glucose into ATP, the primary energy source of cellular reactions. 

This matters because anaerobic exercise is easily accessible, but the immediate availability has metabolic waste that limits sustained output. While you can’t work out for long periods of time, the increased workload will help you build strength and stamina faster than aerobic exercise.

Traditional anaerobic exercise is used as interval training or dynamic strength training. Plyometrics, Tabata training, HIIT training, powerlifting, and Fartlek training are examples of anaerobic exercise, where maximal exercise requires near-maximum effort for success.

Aerobic vs. Anaerobic Exercise

Aerobic exercise uses a different energy system and requires oxygen for performance. Aerobic training takes energy stored from macronutrients (carbs, proteins, and fats) along with usable oxygen from the lungs.

Aerobic exercise only burns calories when the action is being performed, but anaerobic exercise will still burn calories at rest. Combine both exercises to achieve total fitness.

Benefits of Anaerobic Exercise

Anaerobic exercise is beneficial for the body and promotes optimal health outcomes, like burning fat and muscles and strengthening bones. These become more important as you age.

1. Increases Endurance

Whereas aerobic exercise increases the amount of weight you can carry, anaerobic exercise allows you to lift for longer periods. Those who include endurance training use anaerobic exercise to improve performance and durability, making them more balanced athletes.

2. Improves Mood

Exercise reduces symptoms of anxiety, depression, and stress. Plus, exercise helps you sleep better, which improves your overall mood and memory. Since exercise releases endorphins (the happiness hormone), it can help others recover from addictions and general sadness. 

3. Promotes Fat Loss

High-intensity interval training raises your heart rate incredibly high for 2 minutes and drops it back down for 3, which makes your heart work harder than it would through a long jog. 150 minutes of HIIT burns the same amount of calories as 450 minutes of jogging per week.

4. Strengthens Bones

Bones are living tissue that changes over time in response to the forces placed upon them. If you exercise regularly, your body adapts by building heavier, denser bones. Eating foods high in vitamin D and calcium will quicken the growth rate of healthy bones from anaerobic workouts. 

5. Builds Muscles

Cardio helps you gain lean muscle mass, which reduces over fat cells in your body. An increase in lean muscle helps combat fatigue because you’re able to move around more comfortably than you would with fat. With less fat, you reduce the health problems associated with obesity.

6. Raises V02 Max

The volume of oxygen (V02) max is the greatest quantity of oxygen your body can consume during exercise. The average V02 max is 35-40 mL for men, 27-31 mL for women. Anaerobic exercise helps increase these numbers significantly, which improves overall endurance.

7. Protects Joints

Joints are protected by muscle, but without enough strong muscle tissue, your joints will start to creak and become damaged. Adding anaerobic exercise to your workout routine slowly can make your life more comfortable through increased muscle mass and fewer injuries. 

8. Boosts Energy

The human body relies on glycogen stored in the muscles for energy. Regular anaerobic exercise gives your body access to these stores and thus enhances your body's tendency to store this energy powerhouse. The result? You have access to more energy when you need it.

9. Lowers Blood Sugar

When food isn’t converted into energy, it’s stored somewhere else in the body as fat or glycogen. As energy burns in your system, insulin spikes and deregulates your metabolism. Anaerobic exercise fixes both problems by using unused energy for fuel and regulating insulin by burning glycogen to lower blood sugar, preventing diabetes.

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