Aerobic and Resistance Exercises – You Need Both!
Do you walk, swim, bike, use dumbbells or exercise bands? All of these classify as exercise but they serve very different purposes. If you want to carry your groceries more easily, not get out of breath when climbing stairs, improve your body composition, or lower your blood pressure you need to use the correct form of exercise. Your body adapts differently to different types of exercise. So how does that happen and what does it mean for your health?
What does Aerobic exercise do for your health?
Aerobic - cardio – endurance (whichever you prefer to call it) exercise requires you to increase your heart rate and breathing rate to provide your muscles with an increase of oxygen to produce energy for the task.
Aerobic exercise trains your heart to be more efficient in circulating blood along with your lungs, thus pumping out more blood per beat, reducing the work it takes to do things like walk, run or swim. Your working aerobic muscles also become more efficient in extracting energy, which helps you do more with less stress and fatigue. Aerobic exercise breaks down fats more efficiently to produce energy and helps your arteries become less stiff through use. These are why cardio is linked to controlling risk factors for heart disease, stroke and other illnesses by helping manage blood pressure, blood sugars and more.
What does resistance exercise do for your health?
Resistance exercise progressively overloads the specific muscles you are using to promote strength and power, and increase your lean body composition. Overloading the muscle breaks down the proteins in the muscle that control its shortening and lengthening. This stimulates your muscle to rebuild and become stronger than before. These muscle fibers are different than the ones used for aerobic exercise. They respond in an anaerobic manner (energy not using oxygen) that then allows your muscle to adapt and become stronger for daily tasks that require strength.
Resistance training also improves how your brain and muscles work together to tense and relax as needed for movement. Muscle accounts for roughly 20 percent of the energy you use at rest. This means that increasing your amount of lean muscle will help you speed your metabolism and improve your health – including having more strength for daily activities.
These adaptations carry you through your day, allowing you to climb stairs more easily, carry groceries, do laundry, pick up your kids or play with your grandchildren more easily and with less fatigue.
Both aerobic and resistance exercise are important for body composition, burning calories, and improving or maintaining your health. And both exercise types help us function better, and enjoy life more!