After adding core work to your daily routine, the next way you can take your fitness to the next level is to incorporate both types of cardio work: anaerobic and aerobic. Each one uses different metabolic pathways in our bodies, the first without oxygen and the second uses oxygen. I am going to explain why this is important and how to add each one to whatever kind of exercise you are currently doing.
Back in the 80’s the emphasis was on aerobic exercise only. Now, research is supporting a mixture of both aerobic and anaerobic. It actually leads to more favorable effects on our hormones, including cortisol, insulin, glucagons and human growth hormone (HGH). This affects our energy levels, immune system, inflammation, as well as the way our body processes and stores sugar, protein and fat. Balancing aerobic and anaerobic training will allow your body to have more efficient metabolism.
Another reason to balance these two forms of working out is to better manage the end products of the pathways. Everyone who has ever worked out really hard and had soreness experienced lactic acid. This is the end product of anaerobic training. On the other end of the spectrum is oxidative load from aerobic training. Our bodies are really amazing at cleaning up oxidative stressors in the body, and completely avoiding oxidative stress is impossible. The goal is to do what we can to not cause excessive oxidative load, and avoiding excessive aerobic exercise is a really good idea for overall health and wellness. I could write a lot more on the subject, but will refrain to give you the bottom line.
Let’s move on to “the How”. It’s easy to balance your current workout by changing your exertion level. Aerobic training is at ~ 65 – 75% exertion level and anaerobic is higher at ~ 85-90%. So if you walk for exercise, start with the lower exertion level for about 5 minutes, and then take it up a notch and walk briskly (until you can’t talk when you walk and/or are breathing heavily) for about 1 minute, then take it back down for 5 minutes and allow your body to catch up. Repeat 4-5 times, and you will have successfully incorporated both anaerobic and aerobic pathways to your work out. You can apply this principle to cycling, elliptical, and just about any type of workout that you do. Any type of class that says it uses “burst” training is probably using this balanced approach. The key is to not overdo either one. It’s always a good idea to run new exercise programs by your doctor.
Take your fitness to the next level by balancing your the internal pathways you use when you work out. It’s healthier, and more efficient. You can’t get any better than that!