If you are a person who is looking to lose weight or keep fit, you must have heard of aerobic exercise (有氧运动) and anaerobic exercise (无氧运动). I came across an article talking about what they are in layman's term so I thought of translating it and weighing in my thoughts as well.

P/S: I am not some experts but just an ordinary person (not even a fitness person) who just want to write and share the post.

Aerobic Exercise

As we all know, the main source of energy for our human activity is glycogen (or sugar), fat, and protein. The mechanism is the same as how cars combust gas to move around, whereas we as a human, we burn additional energy that is stored in our body when we exercise (or live). Our breathing will become hastier as we exercise more intensely because in this process, we also inhale more oxygen to help with burning process.

When we do low-intensity activity, the amount of energy required will be low as well. Hence, we don't need to catch our breath as the oxygen that we breathe in has sufficient time to be delivered to our tissue cells. When we do such kind of exercise, it is considered as aerobic exercise (有氧运动). Put it in another word, any low-intensity movement for a certain period of time can be considered as aerobic exercise. Some examples are fast-walking, slow-running, cycling, etc. Aerobic exercise is definitely good for your lung and heart as you need to do lots of inhale and exhale which will train your vital capacity and improve your heart function.

Aerobic Metabolism

Aerobic metabolism is a slow but lasting energy supply system, its main source of energy is carbohydrate and fat. Your breathe in some oxygen to maintain your basal metabolic rate (基础代谢率), whether you are exercising or resting. If you can consistently exercise for more than 3 minutes, then your source of energy is coming from aerobic metabolism system.

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Anaerobic Exercise

On the other hand, when we do some high-intensity activities such as running or weigh lifting, the amount of oxygen that we inhale through our lungs did not even reach the tissue cells yet to participate in the burning process. With that being said, the oxygen did not kick in yet and the activity has already completed. Such kind of exercise is called anaerobic exercise (无氧运动).

The time for oxygen to participate in the burning process determines whether the exercise is aerobic or anaerobic. For example, a 100m short run, 50m swimming, weight lifting and so on are considered as anaerobic exercise.

Anaerobic Metabolism

When your intensity of your exercise reaches to a certain extent, the amount of energy required by your body exceeds the amount of energy that your aerobic metabolism system can provide, then the anaerobic metabolism system will start to activate.

Anaerobic metabolism uses glycogen (or sugar) as the primary source of fueling. Its advantage is that it can provide instant energy but the amount of energy that it generates is relatively low. That's why when we are able to do some heavy weight lifting but our body will get tired quickly.

The disadvantage of anaerobic metabolism is that when the glycogen (or sugar) is not fully consumed, it will create lactic acid (乳酸) as side product. The accumulation of lactic acid will decrease the PH level of your muscle cells and that is one of the main reasons why you feel fatigue and muscle sore after some intense workout.

The length of anaerobic exercise must not exceed 2 minutes. We need to let our body rest first, let your physical strength recover, before moving on to next rep. While resting, our blood flow will carry away the product waste and pump in more energy.

Daily Grind
Photo by John Arano / Unsplash

Myth: Can we lose fat with anaerobic exercise?

The answer is yes. To be more exact, the combination of aerobic exercise and anaerobic exercise will yield the best result.

While anaerobic exercise can consume lots of energy within a short period of time, it will also create oxygen debt (氧债) and increase our body metabolism. How so, you ask? Well, when you are at rest, your body will also consume energy and most of the consumed energy is coming from your fat. So yes, you can lose fat with anaerobic exercise.

Plus, the anaerobic exercise mostly consumes glycogen (or sugar), and the result is that it accelerates aerobic metabolism along with fat energy supply mechanism, hence it is better to do anaerobic exercise first and then do aerobic exercise. You will be able lose fat in no time!

That's all about it! Hope you like this post!

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