Anaerobic exercise is a short sharp burst of strenuous activity, ordinarily considered to last less than two minutes in duration. The literal translation of anaerobic is ‘without air’ or, more pertinently, ‘without oxygen.’ Essentially the rigorous demands of the exercise mean that you will use more oxygen than you can provide your muscles with, which therefore means that your body has to rely on something else for its energy – in this case, creatine phosphate and glycogen.
Benefits of Anaerobic Exercise
Through a series of complicated internal microbial reactions and processes, the burning of both creatine phosphate and glycogen helps improve metabolism and increase physical fitness. Unfortunately, one bi-product of this process is a lactic acid build-up. While lactic acid doesn’t have a detrimental effect on the body – barring a bit of a stitch or a touch of cramp. – in small doses, too much can be harmful, which is why anaerobic exercise should only be done in short spurts, with sufficient resting period afterward to allow the body to recover and reduce the levels of lactic acid in the bloodstream.
In time, however, the body will gradually build a higher tolerance to the lactic acid build-up and increase its natural lactate threshold progressively. As with aerobic exercises, when done regularly, anaerobic activities will help improve your cardio respiratory system, aiding future workouts and improving general health and fitness.
While aerobic exercise primarily builds endurance as well as improving general fitness, anaerobic exercise is a far more focused regimen, requiring a near maximal level of energy. Over time anaerobic exercises will help improve your speed and fitness, giving you a more exceptional ability to inject bursts of energy into sports and activities.
Boosting Fitness with Interval Training
Interval training is an excellent way of getting a particularly extensive anaerobic workout. As the name suggests, interval training is an anaerobic exercise performed in intermittent bursts, interspersed with longer aerobic sessions or rest periods, to allow the body to recover before starting again.
This could mean walking for a few minutes, jogging, or sprinting for 30 seconds to a minute, walking again for a few minutes before repeating the process. Of course, this process can be also be applied to a variety of activities, including swimming, cycling, and rowing. As you would expect, this form of exercise can be particularly strenuous; therefore, it is not advised that people just beginning their fitness program attempt interval training, at least not until a sufficient level of fitness has been attained.
Finding the Right Activity
As with all forms of exercise, it is always best to try and find an activity that you enjoy. While the very idea of an intensive training session may be enough to put some people off, counteracting this with an enjoyable sport or exercise routine may well help you get the most out of it. So whether you enjoy rigorous circuit training or prefer getting out on your bike, there is no limit of options available to you. Better still and thanks largely to cardiovascular home gym equipment like the exercise bike, cross trainer and treadmill, you don’t even need to leave the safety of your own home to get a great anaerobic workout.