In order for us to be healthier and more energetic, we decide to get fit, eat right, exercise…everything. Then, just as we’re getting started, trying to figure out what to do, people throw out technical terms that we don’t understand. Words like aerobic and anaerobic confuse us and make us feel like we’re not smart enough to be healthy. If I just described you, this article will tell you what the words mean and why, in most cases, they don’t matter.

What is aerobic exercise? Aerobics means ‘with air’. When an exercise routine is aerobic, your body can replenish the oxygen (air) needed by the exercising muscles. Aerobic exercise is good for the heart, lungs, immunity, low blood pressure, cellular health, and helps prevent or control major diseases (such as diabetes, cancer, atherosclerosis, asthma, emphysema, sciatica, constipation, etc.) .

Aerobic exercise is the easiest and most beneficial. If you feel like you need to choose between anaerobic and aerobic exercise, choose aerobic. It’s as simple and inexpensive as taking a brisk walk 3-5 days a week. Other types of aerobic exercise include swimming, jogging, stationary bicycling, rowing, jazzercise dancing, and quick lifting of light weights. To get the full aerobic value, the activity should be sustained for 30 minutes total. Imagine… 2-3 hours a week could add up to 15 healthy years to your life and make the other years much healthier and more productive.

What is anaerobic exercise? Anaerobic means that the workout is so strenuous that you use up oxygen faster than your body can replace it. An anaerobic workout is any program that is very strenuous, such as lifting heavy weights. Other anaerobic exercises include sprinting, rock climbing, long jump, push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, leg raises, squats, etc. Anaerobic exercises build muscle and are necessary for you to be able to do heavy work like lifting, running from danger, going up a steep walk, etc. It also helps with the symptoms of some diseases (such as arthritis and osteoporosis). Some people use it to get that rugged, polished look, but I’m jealous of them.

Aerobic and Anaerobic Exercise Equipment: Aerobic equipment comes in all shapes, sizes, and price ranges, the cheapest and easiest being a pair of walking or cross-training shoes for your aerobic walk. Some of the mid-range fitness equipment includes stationary bikes, treadmills, rowing machines, stair climbers, etc. It can get really expensive, with electronically assisted equipment simulating uphill climbs and monitoring your blood pressure, heart rate, calories burned, plus recording your entire workout and uploading it to the computer. For me, I’ll take the rides!

There are many types of anaerobic exercise equipment on the market in all price ranges. Some examples are dumbbells, free weights, home gyms, abdominal and thigh training equipment. If you’re on a really tight budget, you can buy bungee cords or medical tubing and make your own anaerobic exercise equipment. Frankly, you could use a stick attached to 2 2-liter water bottles for various weight lifting workouts.

Whichever type you do, choosing the right exercise clothes is important to prevent injury. Whether your preferred workout is aerobic or anaerobic, if you want more equipment but don’t want to spend the money, hit the garage sales. I guarantee you’ll find a wide variety of almost-new gear at less than a tenth of the new price.

Just exercise: For the fitness goals of most of us, any workout is good exercise. Both aerobic and anaerobic exercises burn calories, lower blood sugar, and are helpful for weight loss. Both types help with general fitness. Unlike not exercising, any workout improves your heart, lungs… your whole body. Any routine started slowly and built up over time will surely achieve a healthy lifestyle. The most important thing is that your exercise routine is easy to do and not a dreaded chore. Whatever program you choose, make sure it’s something you can do regularly to stay in shape. If you make it fun enough to do it regularly, you don’t even need to know if it’s aerobic or anaerobic…you just need to do it.

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