By now you’ve seen my posts on the benefits of exercise, if there ever was a fountain of youth it is exercise.
For the uninitiated however, exercise is a loaded word, there are so many types of exercise floating about and all are the “best” at doing something, making you stronger, fitter, leaner, faster etc.
There may be some truth to that for the athlete, the bodybuilder etc., but when I’m recommending exercise or encouraging someone to be more active any exercise is good, with some exceptions, more on that later.
Lets break down some of the words of exercise to understand them better.
Aerobic exercise- aka “cardio”- this probably came into our collective consciousness in the ‘80’s with the “20 minute work-out” the leotards and the leg warmers. Aerobic exercise simply means “ with oxygen” your muscles are using a fuel source that requires oxygen and this exercise tends to be of a longer duration, minutes or longer and is responsible for innumerable health benefits; lowered risk of heart disease, blood sugar control, improved cardiovascular (heart/lung) health, blood pressure and cholesterol, mental health improvements etc. Walking or jogging, aerobic classes, cross country skiing are examples of aerobic exercises.
Anerobic exercise- this type of exercise requires no oxygen and depends on the fuel stored in the muscles for energy. This type of exercise is intense, short lived (seconds instead of minutes) think, sprint instead of marathon. Anerobic exercise tends to be uncomfortable, however it is short lived and can result in increased strength and endurance especially if done in sets or bursts of high intensity.
Resistance training/strength training- is just that working against some kind of resistance, this is what most people think of when they think of “weight lifting”, however you don’t need to go to a gym and lift iron barbells around to get the benefits of resistance training, you can simply use your own body weight or exercise bands to get a positive effect. What kinds of effects, you ask? The list is exhaustive but here are a few; increased lean muscle mass ( we lose muscle as we age), increase metabolism ( as muscle mass decreases so does our internal “ thermostat” so more muscle more fuel burned), decrease diabetes risk/ improve diabetes control, lower blood pressure, reduce cardiovascular disease…etc., you get the idea.
The best message is get out and do something that elevates your heart rate be it aerobic, anerobic or resistance training of some kind every day.
See Dr. Mike Evans great video here for more information.