What makes Anaerobic Exercise good for your health?

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Written By Robby Macaay

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Anaerobic exercise can increase your lean muscle mass and strength, improve your mood and much more. Know all about anaerobic exercise.

Anaerobic exercise involves strong and powerful movements for which the body does not rely on oxygen. That is what makes it different from aerobic exercise. Anaerobic exercise can be done for just a few seconds at a time. It requires the body to go all out, and that is why doing anaerobic exercise is good for your health. Improved muscle strength is one of the main health benefits of anaerobic exercise. We tell you more about anaerobic exercise with examples.

What is anaerobic exercise?

It is an intense physical activity where oxygen demand surpasses supply, relying on stored energy sources like glycogen for short bursts of power, explains fitness expert Gaurav Molri. Examples of anaerobic exercise

1. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

HIIT is all about short and intense bursts of exercise followed by brief recovery periods. Start with a warm-up, followed by cycles of high-intensity exercises like sprints and jumping jacks for 20 to 30 seconds followed by 10 to 20 seconds of rest.

2. Strength training

It utilises resistance, like weights or bodyweight, to build strength and muscle mass. Begin with compound exercises such as squats and deadlifts, ensuring proper form and gradually increasing weight.

Squat is an anaerobic exercise. Image courtesy: Freepik

3. Plyometrics

Plyometrics are explosive movements like jump squats or box jumps to develop power. Do jumps or bounds while focusing on quality over quantity to prevent injury, suggests the expert.

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4. Sprinting

Sprinting is all about short, maximum-effort runs. Warm up thoroughly then sprint at maximum effort for short distances, gradually increasing speed and distance.

5. Calisthenics

Calisthenics are bodyweight exercises like push-ups, pull-ups, and squats. Include a mix of these exercises targeting different muscle groups, adjusting intensity and difficulty as needed.

What is the difference between anaerobic exercise and aerobic exercise?

They key differences between anaerobic exercise and aerobic exercise lie in the way the body uses stored energy, and the intensity and duration of the exercise you do.

Anaerobic exercises are high-intensity, short-duration activities that primarily use glycogen, which is a form of glucose, for energy. Aerobic exercises, on the other hand, are moderate-intensity activities that rely on oxygen for energy production, says Molri. Aerobic exercises such as swimming, cycling and dancing, can be done for a long duration unlike anaerobic exercises.

A woman doing anaerobic exercise
Anaerobic exercise can help in fat loss. Image courtesy: Freepik

What are the health benefits of anaerobic exercise?

Like aerobic exercise, anaerobic exercise also has a positive correlation towards improved cardiovascular health, according to a 2017 study published in the World Journal of Cardiology. Here are some more benefits:

  • Builds muscle strength and mass.
  • Boosts metabolism for calorie burn.
  • Enhances bone density.
  • Increases overall functional fitness.
  • Decreases high blood pressure.
  • Improves mood.
  • Decreases your risk of developing health conditions like heart disease.

Can you burn fat by doing anaerobic exercise?

Anaerobic exercise is mostly associated with muscle strength and power, but it is also good for burning fat. Anaerobic exercise, particularly high-intensity forms like HIIT and weightlifting, can contribute to fat loss. Anaerobic exercise helps increase metabolism, build lean muscle mass, and improve overall body composition, leading to greater fat burning even after the workout is over, says the expert. The intense nature of anaerobic exercise can lead to an “afterburn” effect, where the body continues to burn calories at an elevated rate post-workout, further aiding in fat loss.

But people with certain health conditions such as respiratory problems or joint injuries should consult with a doctor or fitness expert before starting anaerobic exercise. Even pregnant women need to be cautious when it comes to anaerobic exercise.

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