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Aerobic vs anaerobic exercise

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Here in the offices we are divided almost equally between aerobic and anaerobic trainers. I’m a fan of aerobics – but that doens't mean I go to a weekly class full of Lycra-clad ladies pretending to work up a sweat while gossiping about Katie Price’s love life or Cheryl Cole’s new hairdo. Aerobic simply means ‘with air’, and encompasses every type of exercise where oxygen is used to fuel the muscles for a prolonged period of activity. Typical examples of aerobic training include distance running and cycling.
The opposite of this is anaerobic, meaning ‘without air’. During anaerobic activity, such as powerlifting and sprinting, the body’s requirement for energy exceeds that provided by breathing. Without enough oxygen, the muscles’ ability to perform is dramatically reduced and can only function for short, intensive bursts.
So which do you do? Are you the kind of chap who spends hours pummelling the pavement to get your fitness hit? Or are you always in the squat rack perfecting your one-rep max?
Most personal trainers (opens in new tab) agree that it is important to train both aerobically and anaerobically to attain a higher level of fitness. A long run will tax the cardiovascular system and result in a stronger heart and set of lungs. But it won’t build the muscular strength that bench presses (opens in new tab)squats (opens in new tab) and lunges (opens in new tab) will. The bottom line is that if you do both you'll develop more power and the ability to train harder for longer and, no matter what type of exercise you're into, that equals better performance.

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