• Karla Wolford

What is Aerobic Capacity?

This week's Wisdom Wednesday coming at you a bit early...

What is Aerobic Capacity?

Let's first define what it is not.  This is what anaerobic exercise is. 

Relating to or denoting exercise that does not improve or is not intended to improve the efficiency of the body's cardiovascular system in absorbing and transporting oxygen; requiring an absence of free oxygen.

Anaerobic sports and exercise, such as gymnastics, weight lifting, and sprinting, are of high intensity but short duration - usually :30 - 2 minutes -  so they don't involve much oxygen intake. Anaerobic exercise triggers a different type of cell activity from aerobic exercise. As a result, it doesn't do much for your heart and lungs and it doesn't burn off fat; what it does do is build muscle.

Now, let's talk what aerobic exercise means.

Relating to, or denoting exercise that improves or is intended to improve the efficiency of the body's cardiovascular system in absorbing and transporting oxygen; requiring free oxygen.

Aerobic exercise is exercise that takes an extended amount of time—usually 2 minutes or more—but is usually performed at only moderate intensity. Running, rowing, swimming, bicycling, and cross-country skiing are classic aerobic exercises.  Aerobic exercise particularly strengthens the heart and lungs, but usually has many other good effects as well.

The Anaerobic system and the Aerobic system fire up at the same time, however, they burn up at different rates as previously mentioned. Your Anaerobic system must also be trained to allow the Aerobic system to utilize the energy it receives at an optimal level. The Anaerobic system creates the most important fuel, Lactate, that which the Aerobic system uses to sustain longer efforts. Consistent training in both systems, can increase your aerobic capacity.

What is capacity?

Maximum output; the maximum amount or number that can be contained or accommodated.

Aerobic capacity is evaluated using estimates of VO2max (also known as maximal oxygen uptake). VO2max reflects the maximum rate that the respiratory, cardiovascular, and muscular systems can take in, transport, and use oxygen during exercise. Good aerobic capacity has been shown to reduce the risk of high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, obesity, diabetes, the metabolic syndrome, and some forms of cancer.

Some terms that might also be associated or interchanged with aerobic capacity are: Aerobic capacity, aerobic power, functional capacity, functional aerobic capacity, maximal functional capacity, cardiorespiratory fitness, cardiovascular fitness, maximal oxygen intake, and maximal oxygen uptake.

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