Cardiovascular exercise, also known as cardio, is exercise that burns a lot of calories and strengthens your heart and lungs. Aerobic exercise and cardiovascular exercise are often used interchangeably. Have you ever wondered what aerobic and anaerobic means?
An activity that you do hard enough that challenges your heart and lungs is known as aerobic exercise. To get your heart and lungs working within an aerobic state it takes working your large muscles such as your legs, back, butt, and chest. The energy for muscle contraction comes from two energy systems, the aerobic system and the anaerobic system.
Aerobic means with oxygen or air. Dr. Kenneth Cooper of the Cooper clinic back in the 1960s coined the phrase cardio. While exercising in the aerobic state your body needs extra oxygen that your lungs extracts from the air. You can think of oxygen as fuel. The harder you work the more fuel, or oxygen your body will deliver to your muscles.
However there is a threshold where your muscles are demanding more oxygen than your lungs can provide to it. This is known as anaerobic, or without oxygen. Your body has a limited capacity to keep going without oxygen, therefore it won’t be for long.
Anaerobic exercise is typically your high intensity exercises like sprinting or weightlifting that typically lasts for one to two minutes. Normally during this time you begin running out of air and began to feel the burning sensation in your muscles.
A supply of stored compounds necessary to produce anaerobic energy is so limited, anaerobic effort is brief but intense. This energy system is critical for events of short duration. In events of longer duration such as basketball the individual will alternate between aerobic energy and anaerobic energy systems. Therefore one of the greatest benefits of aerobic fitness is the ability to recover from anaerobic bursts of effort, such as a fast break in basketball.
Energy production is about 50% from carbohydrate and 50% from fat at moderate levels of exercise. As your exercise intensifies your body will burn more carbohydrates than fat. Your body stores more fat than carbohydrates, so as you exercise carbohydrate feeding (such as fruit juice) can’t help delay the onset of fatigue.
The untrained person will quickly elevate the heart rate during exercise and approaches his or her maximum tolerance for work, relying on limited stores of carbohydrates, while the well-trained person does the same amount of work with a lower heart rate. The ability of the body to utilize energy is not as efficient when it runs out of carbohydrates, since more oxygen is required to burn fat.
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