Understanding How Aerobic Exercise Works

Aerobic means “with oxygen” and refers to the process of your muscles generating energy using oxygen. Nearly everyone knows that aerobic exercise is good for you, but you may not know why aerobic exercise is beneficial and how it works to promote health. 

Health care providers are an excellent resource for questions about exercise and fitness. Our obesity medicine specialists, Rohit Suri, MD, and Seema Chaudhary, MD, and the team here at Nova Physician Wellness Center provide individualized exercise plans to help patients reach and maintain a good level of fitness.

Getting enough physical activity and the right kinds of exercise can help you achieve goals like fat reduction, improved strength, and weight maintenance. Learn how aerobic exercise works to keep you healthy and fit. 

What is aerobic exercise? 

Aerobic exercise gets your heart pumping. Picture yourself exercising. When your heart is pumping and your breathing increases, you’re exercising muscles involved in respiration. Think running on a treadmill, kickboxing, or cycling. These are just a few examples of aerobic exercises. 

On the other hand, resistance training, also called strength training or weight lifting, is anaerobic, which means without oxygen. Resistance training involves high-intensity movements performed for a short duration, typically several seconds or minutes. Your muscles don’t rely on oxygen for energy during resistance training movements. 

How aerobic exercise works

When you engage in aerobic exercise, your muscles rely on a stored form of energy called glycogen. As the demand for energy increases, the body breaks down glycogen into glucose to keep the muscles going. 

The body stores several days worth of glycogen. However, in the event that glycogen stores are depleted, the body uses fat as fuel. 

When you initiate aerobic activity, your body begins supplying working muscles with fuel almost immediately. This process of using oxygen to turn glucose and carbohydrates, fats, and protein into fuel is called aerobic respiration. 

Because aerobic exercise lasts for a longer duration than strength training, aerobic respiration plays a crucial role in providing your muscles with a steady supply of fuel so that you can keep going. 

How aerobic exercise benefits your body

Aerobic exercise keeps your heart and blood vessels healthy. It also strengthens muscles involved in respiration. When you engage in regular aerobic exercise, it helps your heart pump more efficiently, which reduces resting heart rate, improves circulation, and lowers blood pressure. 

Beyond that, aerobic exercise helps you burn calories, increases red blood cell count, and helps your body combat inflammation. Regular exercise, along with adopting other healthy lifestyle habits, can slash your risk for many chronic diseases, including heart disease, hypertension, and Type 2 diabetes.   

Exercise: a key component to an effective weight-loss program

Exercise is an important component of our medically-supervised weight-loss programs. Physical activity will help you burn fat and make the most of your efforts. Getting enough exercise will improve your body composition by increasing lean muscle and decreasing body fat. Muscle requires more energy to maintain, so boosting your body’s muscle tissue also increases the number of calories you burn at rest. 

Taking the step toward a better you

Whether you want to lose weight, boost your physical fitness, or improve your eating habits, we can help. If you’re ready to feel good and improve your health, then you’re ready for an individualized wellness program. 

To get started, call one of our offices or book online to schedule your initial consultation with a Nova Physician Wellness provider today. A new you is waiting!

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