Anaerobic Exercise - Pain or Pleasure?

Anaerobic exercise is not for everyone.  In fact it's really only for professional athletes, college athletes, a few high school age athletes, or those who enjoy pain.

I love exercise, but I don't enjoy pain.

Fortunately all most of us really need is consistent aerobic exercise - exercise with lots of oxygen.

Anaerobic Exercise - View from Aspen Highway

Anyone involved with competitive sports in college or at the professional level needs to be strong, muscular, and very physically fit.

Those individuals need both types of exercise.

One member of our family - our son-in-law, loves mountain biking.  He's one of those riders who can go up the side of a cliff on his bike.

Chris maintains his level of fitness during the winter months by going to spinning classes - where participants ride stationary bikes with lots of resistance and extreme pedal speeds.

Very high heart rates with lots of heavy breathing and sweating result in a very high level of physical training.

Exercise which is strictly anaerobic uses muscles very intensely for short time periods.

The Wikipedia article on anaerobic exercise goes into great technical detail - especially if some or all the links are followed.  Chemical reactions are explained with lots of big words such as adenosine triphosphate and anaerobic glycolysis.

Anaerobic Exercise - Another Picture from Aspen Hwy

If you are interested in knowing the chemical reactions which take place during exercise, check out those articles in Wikipedia - for both aerobic and anaerobic.

Another group of individuals who utilize intense, painful exercise are the body builders.

Joyce and I have a weight machine and a few handweights, but we are not into body building.  Just maintenance.

As we age, it's necessary to do some weight training on a regular basis in order to avoid losing muscle mass.

I prefer the slow and easy type of weight activity - which is almost always aerobic.

The heart rate picks up to some extent, but it never increases to the point of pounding - which is an indication of anaerobic conditions.

When we were younger it was sometimes a lot of fun to play recreational basketball.

Anaerobic Exercise - Picture #3 from Aspen Hwy

About 40 years ago when I was in my late 20's, I was participating in a recreational basketball league.

The competitive atmosphere caused most participants to be involved in anaerobic exercise without really intending to do so.  In fact, I didn't know the difference back then.

It was just fun competing.

Once in a while, some injuries would occur - such as sprains or even the occasional broken bone.

Some of the participants were in great shape - even to the extent of having maintained a proper level of physical training.

But some of us fools were out there acting as if we knew what we were doing.

If I had it to do over again I would want to go through enough anaerobic and aerobic training to be confident that the activity was completely safe.

Anaerobic Exercise - Picture #4 from Aspen Hwy

Another example of unintended anaerobic activity results here in Colorado during those rare huge snow storms - when men or women get out and move snow around with a snow shovel.

Every now and then you hear about someone in that situation dropping dead from a heart attack.

Good, consistent aerobic exercise removes that danger.

Shoveling snow is actually invigorating - very enjoyable.  <b>But don't do it if you're out of shape.</b>

The best way to go from couch potato to a decent level of fitness is aerobic exercise- simple, easy, non-taxing activity gradually increasing intensity as your condition improves.

Return to Physical Exercises from Anaerobic Exercise