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Not only cardio training. Doctors reveal exercises that ensure heart health

Not only cardio training. Doctors reveal exercises that ensure heart health What exercises ensure heart health (photo: Freepik)

Cardio training is primarily associated with heart health. But this is not the only type of exercise you should do. Anaerobic and aerobic exercises are also very useful, according to USA Today.

What is there to know about anaerobic exercise

Anaerobic and aerobic exercise are two basic types of physical activity, each with different characteristics and effects on the body. The former is more intense but lasts less time than aerobic.

"Anaerobic literally means 'without air,' while aerobic means 'with air,'" explains physiotherapist David Hertzberg.

"With anaerobic exercise, the body cannot get enough oxygen quickly enough to provide energy to sustain movement. Because of this, the body uses another source of energy and breaks down glucose stores instead of turning to oxygen.

Another key difference between the exercises is that one focuses more on endurance and the other on strength.

Aerobic exercise generally improves endurance and cardiovascular health, while anaerobic exercise is better for building strength, muscle mass, and power.

What are the benefits of anaerobic exercise for the body

Anaerobic exercise also improves a person's ability to resist fatigue by increasing the production of lactic acid, which boosts energy levels.

Other benefits of anaerobic exercise include improved athletic performance, blood sugar regulation, mental health, and cardiovascular health.

"While we typically associate heart health with aerobic exercise, anaerobic exercise also contributes to cardiovascular health by improving blood pressure, lowering bad cholesterol, and improving heart function," says Dr. Austin Gontang.

Anaerobic exercise can also improve bone strength and density, thus reducing the risk of osteoporosis.

"Anaerobic exercise can increase your resting metabolic rate - the rate at which your body burns calories while you rest. More muscle mass means the body burns more calories even when not exercising, which can help with weight management," says Gontang.

What exercises to do

Common examples of anaerobic exercise include weightlifting, sprinting, powerlifting, and high-intensity interval training. Gontang also recommends bodyweight and resistance training.

"Movements such as push-ups and pull-ups are effective anaerobic exercises. And they don't require any equipment and can be done anywhere, which makes them very accessible," the doctor says.

Physiotherapist Ben Fung emphasizes that cardio should be added to anaerobic exercise.

"Adults should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week and at least two days of anaerobic activity to strengthen muscles," he says.

According to him, a variety of movements, ranges of motion, loads, frequencies, intensities, and postures is a great way to alternate between the two types of exercise.

"The body appreciates it when we give it different ways to load, train, strengthen, stretch, and relax," Fung emphasizes.