The meaning of the word aerobic is oxygen. So any exercise causing your body to inhale a greater amount of oxygen by making your heart work harder is known as aerobic exercise. Common examples include
- Jogging & Running
- Yard work – mowing, raking
- Sports – soccer, tennis, basketball
Most common benefits of aerobic exercises are heart and lung health and prevention of type 2 diabetes. Some other advantages of these workouts are
- Controlled blood pressure
- Lowering bad cholesterol in the body while increasing the amount of good cholesterol
However, one less highlighted benefit associated with aerobic exercise is muscle strengthening. Following are the ways in which aerobic exercises targets muscles providing them with endurance and agility.
Improved Oxygen Flow Into The System
The moment you start working out, the muscles demand for oxygen starts building up. Since you breathe harder during a workout, your muscles use the surplus oxygen to burn fat. Your increased heart rate pumps oxygen-rich blood to your muscles, which revitalizes them.
Quicker Exchange Of Gasses
Our muscles contain a network of thread like capillaries, which are responsible for providing oxygen to the tissues and expelling carbon dioxide from the body. Aerobic exercises increase the flow of oxygen to the muscle which in turn increases the production of carbon dioxide. This excess carbon dioxide is expelled from the body by a process called vasodilation. The blood vessels surrounding the muscles are dilated allowing them to carry more oxygen and carbon dioxide.
Increased Glycogen Reserves
We are now familiar that while performing aerobic exercises body uses fat reserves as a source of fuel. In addition to burning the fat surplus as fuel, the body also uses another source known as glycogen, which is stored in the muscles as a carbohydrate deposit. Once the body starts borrowing glycogen from the body, its reserves start increasing to fulfil the demand of consumption. The growth of glycogen leads to stronger muscles, which is an integral aspect of aerobic exercise.
Improved Muscle Definition
There are two types of muscle fibres: fast twitch and slow twitch. Aerobic exercises primarily engage slow twitch fibres which exhibit lesser ability to grow. However, with repeated workouts they show a little growth with improvement in their functionality.
Muscle cells, also known as mitochondria help in cultivating energy-rich compounds, which significantly increase due to aerobic movements. Enhancement of slow twitch muscles along with the rise in the energy-rich compounds causes muscle definition along with strength.