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This site is dedicated to promoting good health through nutritional information and exercise.  If you are new at exercising, a question you might ask is, "what type of exercise is good for me?"  And, that is a good question.  Basically there are two types of exercises, and we need both.

 There is aerobic, which in biology terms means with oxygen; and, there is anaerobic which means without oxygen.  These terms are used when discussing cellular respiration and the yielding of ATP from glucose for the purpose of cellular respiration or the yielding of energy for our body's use.  However, in exercise, it has come to differentiate between the two basic types of exercises, aerobic and anaerobic.  Aerobic is using large muscles to propel the body over long distances without stopping, Examples of aerobic exercises are: running long distance, swimming long distance, biking long distance as well as force marching and power walking.

 Anaerobic exercises are those that require short sprints, short bursts of speed or energy, very intense for a short time.  These exercises use the built up or stored energy in our muscles and liver, called glycogen, for their intense activity and can be sustained only for very short periods of time in light of fact that this energy is very quickly depleted.  Glycogen is used without oxygen, hence, the term anaerobic exercise. Examples of anaerobic exercises are: weight lifting, sprinting, and basketball.  Depending upon your muscular build, you very likely will be naturally more adapted for one type of exercise than the other. 

Muscle Types:

All of us are built differently and hence have a natural capacity for one type of exercise over the other. If you are tall, and slender with long arms and legs, you likely have been blessed with what is termed slow twitched muscles.  If you are more on the stocky side, you have likely been blessed with fast twitch muscles.  One is not necessarily better or worse than the other.  However each type does have a particular activity for which they naturally perform better.  Fast twitch muscles can, fairly easily be crossed trained to function competitively in the slow twitch category.  However, slow twitch muscles will not likely be too competitive in the fast twitch categories of sports or exercises.

Fast twitch muscles better support the exercises or competitive events often referred to as anaerobic. As said above, when discussing cellular respiration, anaerobic means without the presence of oxygen.  The fuel for this type of exercise is glycogen.  Glycogen is stored in the muscles for short burst of speed; immediate reaction to an eminent threat such as flight or fight response.  While glycogen is a good source of energy for a short and robust physical response, it lasts only for a few seconds and needs to be replenished repeatedly. The types of exercises that use this source of fuel are, weight lifting, and stop and go types of sports.  While the use of this type of fuel does not burn fat at the time of the exercise, it does trigger the body to burn fat during the recovery period.  Also, lean muscles are fat burners even at rest. So, the muscles one builds during strength training also help burn fat.

Slow twitch muscles are found more commonly in those athletes who choose the aerobic or endurance exercises. The fact that endurance athletes have these types of muscles is usually the reason they choose aerobic sports.  So, usually, the muscle fibers come first then this type of sports is selected because of an athlete's better performance at endurance sports than anaerobic sports. Again, aerobic sports are long distance running, biking, force marches, and power walking.  They burn fat.  However, if endurance exercises are too intense, your muscles will switch from fat burning to sugar burning.

Intensity level of any exercise is different for each of us. It depends on our fitness level and how overweight we are.  A person, who is just starting a fitness program after months or years of inactivity--commonly known as sedentary life style--will go into anaerobic burning faster than a person with well trained muscles.  However, a very good measure of whether or not you are in the fat burning mode is to measure how well you can carry on a conversation.  (Yes, it is permissible to talk to one's self.)  If you can carry on a conversation, with effort, your breathing is up, but you are not gasping for breath, you are in the fat burning mode.  The longer you stay in this mode and the more frequently you exercise in this mode, the more fat you burn.  So, at the time of exercise, more fat is burned with endurance exercises than with anaerobic exercises, and you do burn fat during the recovery phase.  However, you do produce more muscles with weight lifting and that being an anaerobic exercise, it does burn fat during the recovery time.  So, my recommendation is to do both.

You may be overweight or obese for a number of reasons.  One of those reasons very likely is due to inactivity.  Most of us spend weigh too much time watching TV or on the computer.  Take 45 minutes away from the TV every day and start a walking program.  You can take, one day off; you choose which day.  However, why would you want to?  Once you see the results of a good walking program, you will miss it when you fail to do it.   I don't recommend running or jogging because of the high impact on joints.  However, if it were not for already damaged joints, I would run because of the effect it has on the body--other than damaging the joints--mainly known as runner's high.

I would also, suggest that you add a strength training regime to your program.  Once you are eating properly, lots and lots of green leafy vegetables--refer to "Healthy Living" page-- and multi colored whole plants, you will be getting plenty of readily absorbable calcium and the weight lifting will strengthen your load bearing bones.  Together, diet and exercise will prevent and or alleviate osteoporosis. Also, the muscles you build will burn fat 24-7.


Do Not Start An Exercise Program Without A Physical:  As the former athletic director of two different high schools, I would never allow a student to even try out for any sports without a current up-to-date physical.  So, once you have your doctor's ok, the next thing you need to invest in is a pair of top quality walking shoes.  Personally, I have, time and again, chosen Reebok DMAXMAX.  They have a patented gel that alleviates the pain that is caused by worn-out cartilage between my large toes and feet. However, as always, we are all different; and, this is a personal choice. Just make sure they are comfortable and well constructed. This can be accomplished with less than $100.00.  If you find that you have a problem with heel pain, you may want to try a heel insert made by Dr. Scholl.

Here is hoping you every success in your exercise program.  Write us at publisher@bentmileshealth.com if you have any questions or comments.