Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Aerobics, Anaerobics, or Vacuuming; It’s all Good

 Author: C. Small

Are you a couch potato? Do you prefer sitting on the sidelines watching others have fun? Well, it’s time to get up and get active. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Surgeon General have all issued statements that recommend placing an emphasis on adopting physical activity into one's lifestyle. Their purpose is to make us aware of the health benefits associated with increased physical activity, as well as to highlight the amount and intensity of activity necessary to achieve optimal results.

Now before you look at increasing your physical activities, you should consult your physician to ensure a safe and healthy experience. Next, you must understand the term. Physical activity cannot be defined in just one or two words; it is a broad term that encompasses all forms of muscle movements. These movements can range from sports to lifestyle activities (such as house cleaning, gardening, etc). Also, exercise can be defined as physical activity that is a planned, structured movement of the body designed to enhance physical fitness. Regimented or purposeful exercise consists of a program that includes twenty to sixty minutes of activity at least three to five days a week.
Let’s take a look at the word exercise. Are there different categories of exercises? Actually there are. Exercise may be classified in one of two categories or energy systems, anaerobic and aerobic, depending on where the energy is derived from. There is a distinct difference between the two, and specific training techniques are used to enhance both. Anaerobic exercise does not require oxygen for energy. This is due to the intensity and duration of anaerobic events, which typically are high intensity and last only a few seconds to a minute or two. Also, in anaerobic exercises the body creates the energy without oxygen. This basically is due to the fact that the body’s demand for energy is greater so that it will find natural body chemicals such as creatine phosphate to create it. These activities include weight lifting, machines that offer resistance, dumbbells, and short sprints.

Aerobic exercise on the other hand, does require oxygen for energy. When performing a set of aerobic exercises you are causing the body to utilize oxygen in order to create energy. The oxygen is needed to breakdown glucose. Glucose is the fuel needed to create energy. This energy system is primarily used during events lasting longer than several minutes, such as cycling/biking, running, swimming, cross-country skiing, playing basketball, jumping rope, roller skating, walking briskly and dancing. In addition to these fun activities, you can get a great aerobic workout through stationary exercise machines such as cycles, treadmills, stair-steppers and rowing machines. These can be found at a local gym or health club, where you can not only increase your fitness-level but social contacts as well. Most of these machines can also be used in the privacy of your home.

(Note: The potential does exist however, where one can use both the aerobic and anaerobic systems, as in soccer, where a match requires ninety minutes of continual activity with short intense bursts of effort.)

Participation in physical activity can be beneficial for anyone and can be started during any stage of life. One goal of Healthy People 2010, which is a categorized listing of national health objectives established by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is to increase the number of people who participate in daily physical activity. So whether you decide to do a regimented exercise program, house or yard work, walk a pet, or walk around town to complete errands, get up off the couch and get active!

About the author: C. Small is the Founder/President/CEO of CVS Unlimited, LLC and a health and fitness enthusiast with more than 31 years of military training. The Company’s desire is to help people achieve healthy lifestyles by combining good nutrition with the right exercises, and using the right equipment for lasting results.


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