Aerobic vs. Anaerobic: Understanding the Two Systems and How to Train Them for Optimal Fitness on Vancouver Island

Aerobic vs. Anaerobic: Understanding the Two Systems and How to Train Them for Optimal Fitness on Vancouver Island

Aerobic vs. Anaerobic: Understanding the Two Systems and How to Train Them for Optimal Fitness on Vancouver Island

Aerobic, anaerobic, energy system, oxygen, aerobic training, anaerobic trainingIf you are into fitness and health, you have probably heard the terms aerobic and anaerobic before. These two systems play a significant role in our body’s ability to produce energy and sustain physical activity. But what are they, really? And how can you train them for optimal fitness? In this article, we will dive into the science behind aerobic and anaerobic systems and explore how you can use them to improve your overall fitness on Vancouver Island, specifically in the city of Nanaimo.

What are the Aerobic and Anaerobic Systems?

Aerobic, anaerobic, energy system, oxygen, aerobic training, anaerobic trainingTo understand these two systems, we need to take a closer look at how our body produces energy. Our body uses adenosine triphosphate (ATP) as its primary source of energy. ATP is produced through a process called cellular respiration, which takes place in our cells’ mitochondria. This process requires oxygen, which is why it is called aerobic respiration.

However, in some cases, our body needs energy faster than we can produce it through aerobic respiration. In those cases, our body switches to another system called anaerobic respiration. This system does not require oxygen and produces energy much faster than aerobic respiration. However, it can only sustain high-intensity activities for a short period before fatiguing.

Benefits and Risks of Aerobic Training

Aerobic training involves activities that require a continuous supply of oxygen to produce energy, such as running, cycling, and swimming. When you engage in aerobic activities, your body increases its oxygen consumption, and your heart rate and breathing rate also increase. Aerobic training has many benefits, such as:

  • Improved cardiovascular health
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Reduced risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity
  • Improved endurance and stamina
  • Better mental health and reduced stress

However, aerobic training also has some risks. Overdoing it can lead to injuries such as shin splints, stress fractures, and tendonitis. It can also cause muscle loss if you do not include strength training in your routine.

Benefits and Risks of Anaerobic Training

Anaerobic training involves high-intensity activities that do not require oxygen, such as sprinting, weightlifting, and jumping. When you engage in anaerobic activities, your body produces energy through the breakdown of glucose without using oxygen. Anaerobic training has many benefits, such as:

  • Increased muscle strength and power
  • Improved speed and agility
  • Increased metabolism and fat loss
  • Improved bone density
  • Improved mental toughness and resilience

However, anaerobic training also has some risks. Overdoing it can lead to injuries such as strains, sprains, and muscle tears. It can also cause fatigue, muscle soreness, and decreased immune function.

How to Train Both Systems for Optimal Fitness

To achieve optimal fitness, you need to train both the aerobic and anaerobic systems. Here are some tips on how to do it:

  1. Incorporate both aerobic and anaerobic activities into your routine: Mix up your workouts with activities that require continuous oxygen supply and activities that do not. This will help you train both systems and improve your overall fitness.
  2. Use interval training: Interval training involves alternating between high-intensity activities and rest periods. This type of training is an effective way to train both systems and improve endurance and power.
  3. Gradually increase the intensity: Whether you are doing aerobic or anaerobic activities, it is essential to gradually increase the intensity to avoid injury and fatigue. Start with low-intensity workouts and gradually increase the intensity over time.
  4. Listen to your body: It is crucial to listen to your body when it comes to exercise. Pay attention to how your body feels before, during, and after exercising. Your body will give you clues as to whether you are overdoing it or not pushing yourself enough. If you experience pain, dizziness, or shortness of breath during exercise, stop immediately and seek medical attention if needed.


On the other hand, if you never feel challenged during your workouts, you may need to increase the intensity or duration of your exercises to see progress. It’s also important to rest and recover properly between workouts to allow your body to repair and rebuild muscle tissue.

Another way to listen to your body is to track your progress. Keep a log of your workouts and note how you feel each day. Are you feeling stronger, more energized, and healthier? Or are you feeling tired, run down, and burned out? Use this information to adjust your workout routine accordingly.

It’s also important to remember that exercise is just one part of a healthy lifestyle. Proper nutrition, hydration, and sleep are all important factors that contribute to overall health and fitness. Listen to your body and give it the care it needs to perform at its best.

In summary, listening to your body is key to a safe and effective exercise routine. Pay attention to how your body feels, track your progress, and take care of yourself through proper nutrition, hydration, and rest. With these practices in place, you can achieve your fitness goals while maintaining good health and avoiding injury.

Transform Your Practice with Flying Pigeon: A Dynamic Yoga Class for Strength and Balance

Transform Your Practice with Flying Pigeon: A Dynamic Yoga Class for Strength and Balance

Flying Pigeon & Lotus Pose

This yoga sequence is designed to improve your body and mind by connecting them through movement and meditation. 

The peak pose of this class with be flying pigeon, also known as Eka Pada Galavasana in Sanskrit, is an advanced arm balance pose that requires strength, flexibility, and balance. The pose requires placing one leg behind the shoulder and the other in a figure-four position, while the hands are on the ground to support the body weight. To get into the pose, start in a standing forward fold and then step the right foot back and lower the right knee to the ground. Bring the left ankle over the right thigh, flex the left foot, and then shift the weight forward to come onto the hands. From here, you’ll start to lean forward, bend the elbows, and lift the back leg off the ground, keeping the core engaged to maintain balance.  Flying pigeon pose has many benefits, including strengthening the arms, core, and shoulders, as well as improving balance and flexibility in the hips and legs. The pose can also help to relieve stress and anxiety by requiring a focused and calm mind. However, as with any advanced yoga pose, it’s important to approach flying pigeon pose with caution and proper preparation. It’s recommended to work on building strength and flexibility in the hips and shoulders before attempting the pose, and to practice under the guidance of a qualified yoga teacher.

Begin with a lying down glutes stretch in the reclining Figure 4 pose (supta eka pada galavasana). Move into Downward Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) and then transition to standing with a side stretch. Move into Chair pose, lower all the way to sitting, then move into Boat pose and Half Boat pose. Rock your Hollow Body from side to side ten times before moving into Boat pose again.

Transition into standing and stretch your glutes in Chair pose before moving into a flow sequence. Start with One-legged Dog pose, then move into Crescent Lunge and cross your back leg for a glute stretch. Move into an arm balance and then back to Crescent Lunge, then move into Warrior 2 and Reverse Warrior. Move into Side Angle pose with your hand on the ground and suck your front feet up to your knees to triceps and hold. Repeat the same sequence on the other side.

Flow through Downward Dog, jump forward, and move into Chair pose. Move into Crow pose and then flow through a vinyasa. Move into One-legged Dog pose and then bring your knee to triceps and down to wrist and up for core work. Move into Crescent Lunge, cross your back leg for a glute stretch, move into an arm balance, then back to Crescent Lunge. Move into Warrior 2 and Half Moon pose without your hand on the floor, practicing side crunches. Move back into Warrior 2 and then into Side Plank with the option to grab your big toes or release. Repeat the sequence on the other side.

Finish the sequence with Bridge pose or Wheel pose for a backbend.

Remember, the mind and body are interconnected. Meditation is important for any yoga practice as it can help sustain and calm the mind. The lotus pose, also called “Royal Posture,” symbolizes spiritual attainment and the flowering of human potential. Practice this pose with the intention of stilling the monkey mind to allow the light of the lotus within to shine forth.

End your practice with the Gayatri mantra to further enhance your spiritual awareness.

Remember, make an effort to be regular in your meditation practice as it can help solve problems and rise above difficulties.