Training: Anaerobic-Aerobic Exercise

Sports may vary, but the common denominator that remains the same is the human body – a sophisticated piece of machinery made up of sub systems.

Two of the sub systems imperative for physical activity are the: musculoskeletal and cardiorespiratory systems.

The musculoskeletal system is made up of two systems: skeletal and muscular.

The skeletal system, the bones that create what is commonly recognised as the skeleton of the human body, performs four important functions:

  1. Movement: bones (joints) create propulsion and locomotion via muscle contraction.
  2. Support: bones are the structural support for maintaining the body upright.
  3. Protection: bones create protective barriers for organs of the body.
  4. Production/Storage: the site in which blood cells are produced and minerals such as calcium stored.

The muscular system, the fleshy component of the body performs four important functions:

  1. Movement: muscles contract creating propulsion and locomotion via the joints.
  2. Energy Storage: energy is stored in the form of glycogen within muscles.
  3. Protection: muscles create protective barriers for organs of the body.
  4. Stability: muscles help preserve the structural integrity of the skeletal system.

The cardiorespiratory system is made up of two systems: cardiovascular and respiratory.

Comprising of the heart, blood vessels and blood, the cardiovascular system functions as the transporting system. The heart pumps the blood via blood vessels transporting nutrients and oxygen to various parts of the body for growth, healing and ultimately survival – at the same time transporting waste products such as carbon dioxide for removal.

Comprising of the nose, pharynx, larynx, trachea, bronchi and lungs, the respiratory system functions as the exchange or breathing system whereby gases imperative for function of the body are replenished or removed. Oxygen, the essential gas required for maintaining life is brought in via the nose or mouth, moves down the pipe like structures of the pharynx, larynx and trachea (wind pipe) into the lungs and is exchanged in the bloodstream with carbon dioxide that is expelled into the air. Without this simple exchange the human body would quickly die.

How does TOH Strengthen and Condition Systems of the Human Body?

With a basic overview of the function and role that each system carries out, it’s now important to learn how each is strengthened, conditioned and maintained in a healthy state for optimal function.

Triangle of Health (TOH) recognises that incorporating anaerobic and aerobic training is paramount in any exercise regime irrespective of the chosen sport or goal – for maintaining optimal function of the musculoskeletal, cardiorespiratory systems and the body as whole.

What is Anaerobic Exercise? How does it work?

Anaerobic exercise specifically but not exclusively strengthens and conditions the musculoskeletal system.

The word anaerobic, means in the absence of oxygen; relating to energy production by the human body for exercise – subsequently making anaerobic exercise short in duration.

The most common form of anaerobic exercise is resistance (weight) training: a form of exercise whereby the weight or load of equipment such as barbells or dumbbells creates resistance against a contracting muscle with subsequent movement of weight in push-or- pull manner.

Anaerobic exercise is responsible for increasing and maintaining muscle tissue and bone density. Positive results stemming from anaerobic exercise include, increased storage space for energy in the form of glycogen, increased fat burning capabilities and greater skeletal stability – decreasing the likelihood of subluxation and the need for therapeutic treatment.

Power, strength and endurance are also imperative by-products of anaerobic exercise for the competitive athlete.

Whenever resistance training exercise is a topic of conversation for enhancing athletic performance, generally there are two schools of thought: pro and anti. TOH takes the view that both have legitimate arguments.

Those who are anti believe that athletes involved in sports requiring agility and speed ultimately suffer decreased performance by incorporating a weight training regime.

TOH believes this type of thinking is based on ignorance and narrow mindedness, recognising that the muscular and skeletal systems are paramount to any form of physical activity, making strength and conditioning of both via resistance training crucial for optimal athletic function.
Healthy maintenance of both systems also ensures proper function of the nervous system (communication system of the body).

Decreased athletic performance and/or risk of injury from resistance training will only occur with incorrect exercise execution, overtraining and/or underlying structural issues.

The key to reaping the benefits of resistance training is ensuring that movements or exercises are carried out in a natural, biomechanically correct manner.

What is Aerobic Exercise? How does it work?

Aerobic exercise assists in strengthening, conditioning and maintaining the cardiorespiratory system.

The word aerobic, means in the presence of oxygen; relating to energy production by the human body for exercise – subsequently making aerobic exercise an activity that is long in duration.

Basic forms of aerobic exercise include walking, running, cycling and swimming. Competitive sports that require aerobic conditioning of varying degrees include: soccer, rugby league, boxing and mixed martial arts.

Aerobic exercise improves the body’s ability to remove and restrict waste product substances such as lactic acid (by product of energy produced in the absence of oxygen ) which accumulates during exercise – subsequently slowing the onset of muscle fatigue.

Aerobic exercise is also an important component in the fat burning process. In the absence of glycogen (energy stored in the muscles), aerobic exercise can break down fat to be used as an energy source.

Maintaining the strength, conditioning and health of the cardiorespiratory system through aerobic exercise assists in fast, efficient healing and recovery from injury and/or illness.

Irrespective of whether an athlete is involved in an anaerobic or aerobic based sport, TOH believes both forms of exercise complement each other making them imperative for optimal athletic function.


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