Both aerobic and non-aerobic exercises are necessary to stay healthy.
Aerobic exercise keeps the muscles moving, with the arms and legs to increase respiration and heart rate, using “oxygen to burn fat and carbohydrates”. Aerobic exercises can be broken down into three types, according to the American College of Sports Medicine. One type includes walking, climbing stairs, cycling, or jogging; they are considered “easy physical activities”. The “moderate to intense exercise” group consists of hiking, swimming, bench stepping, and dance classes, for example. The third type of aerobic exercise is called “intense and strenuous exercise”, such as the type found in sports like tennis, volleyball, or basketball. Aerobic exercises are especially helpful in strengthening the heart and increasing the red blood cells so that the body can receive oxygen. It may, if combined with a healthy diet, contribute to weight loss. The medical benefits include reducing the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, some cancers, heart disease, and stroke. Aerobic exercises can also boost stamina and the immune system.1 In order to perform aerobic exercises properly, the large muscle groups should be used “repetitively for a sustained amount of time” (3-5 days per week, for 30-60 minutes). In order to maintain health, it should be an activity that the person enjoys doing so that they keep exercising. Patients should also consult with a doctor before starting an exercise program, and perform the exercises “at a level in which you can carry on a conversation”. This is important for safety, because exercising at a rate that fails the “talk test” means that the exercise is too strenuous.2 There is another benefit to aerobic exercise: endorphins. Endorphins are “natural painkillers that promote an increased sense of well-being”. Regular aerobic activity may also lead to a longer life, and it can help to keep the “mind sharp (by reducing) cognitive decline in older adults”.3
There is a difference between aerobic and non-aerobic (anaerobic) exercise. Anaerobic exercise is focused on individual muscles, not requiring oxygen, and it burns carbohydrates, only. The point of non-aerobic exercise is to build muscle through “strenuous activity”, such as push-ups or weightlifting. The overall power and strength of the body can increase by building up skeletal muscles through resistance and weight. Non-aerobic exercise is beneficial to bone strength, and it can reduce the chances of developing osteoporosis. Anaerobic exercise can also improve tendon and ligament strength, as well as joint functioning. It could raise the good cholesterol (HDL) in the body, when combined with a healthy diet.4 Non-aerobic exercise is shorter in duration than aerobic exercise: “less than 60 seconds in duration”.5 The intensity of the exercise also determines whether or not it is aerobic or non-aerobic. If it is a high intensity exercise, it is anaerobic.6 Weight training is a typical anaerobic exercise. If done properly, with the right weight, it will not take many repetitions to get results. It is important to “complement weight training exercises with daily aerobic activity”, and give the body a chance to rest between muscle groups; a day of recovery should suffice.7
Find out about back stretches and exercises.