Aerobic Exercise

This refers to a particular form of exercise which can either help or even improve the consumption of oxygen by the body. The word Aerobic means "an association with oxygen", and involves the use of oxygen in the body's metabolic process by which energy is generated.

In general, Aerobic exercises are associated with a level of exertion that tends to be low, and over longer periods of time. A warm up period should precede any aerobic session for best results. This should then be followed by 15-20 minutes of either moderate or ranging through to intense exercise which utilises large muscle groups. The session would end with a short period of cooling down.
Historical Development

The concept of aerobic exercise was developed by Dr Cooper, an exercise physiologist, and Col. Potts, a physical therapist, both of the United States Air Force. Dr. Cooper, who was himself a keen exercise enthusiast, could not understand why some people with excellent muscular strength were still unable to give good performances with tasks such as long-distance running, swimming, and cycling.

In order to measure the work done by the exerciser, he used a bicycle ergometer, which consists of a stationary bicycle fitted with a system of measuring the amount of energy expended. He began by measuring the performance achieved using this apparatus in terms of an individual’s ability to use oxygen. The results of his work, which were published in 1968, included different types of exercise programmes.

Around that time in the US, there was growing concern, in certain quarters, at the increasing weakness and inactivity in the general population, coupled with a lack of suitable exercise. His research results became the yardstick for most aerobics exercise programmes which are focused on an individual’s oxygen-consumption.


When a high level of activity is achieved, sugars are converted into energy and it is this process that forms the basis of anaerobic exercise. This type of exercise is helpful for athletes to generate power when they are involved in non-endurance sports. It is also used by body builders to build up muscle mass. Muscles trained under such conditions develop in a different way. Such exercise can help performance over short periods of time.

Conversely, Aerobic exercise involves less intense activities over a longer time periods. Examples of such activities include cycling, swimming, running and walking. In each case, a huge volume of oxygen is needed in order to generate the required amount of energy needed for exercise over such prolonged periods.

Weight training and strength training are good examples of Anaerobic exercise.

These two forms of exercise differ not only in terms of the time involved and level of intensity of the muscular contractions involved, but also by the way in which the energy is produced within the muscle itself.

During Aerobic exercise, glucose is broken down, using oxygen within the bloodstream, to generate energy. In the absence of these carbohydrates, such as glucose, fat is produced instead. Fat lowers an individual’s level of performance since it takes a long time for it to be formed.

Conversely, Anaerobic exercise relates to the initial warm-up exercise, or to any short burst of intense exertion, in which the glycogen is consumed without oxygen, and is a far less efficient process.

Aerobics – How To Succeed

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