There are two major types of exercises: 1) Aerobic, which requires the presence of oxygen to release the energy that fuels the muscles; and 2) Anaerobic, which does not require oxygen to release energy into the muscles. Aerobic exercise involves the cardiovascular system of heart and lungs to a greater extent then does anaerobic exercise. The type of activity, heart rate level, and time spent doing the exercise non-stop determines whether it is aerobic or anaerobic. Your body supplies your muscles with energy in overlapping phases. It depletes your short duration anaerobic energy while phasing in your long term aerobic energy. Muscle building is a short duration activity. Muscle building is anaerobic. The total workout takes a long time because of the starts and stops between sets. It has little benefit on your heart and lungs. Walking, on the other hand, is aerobic. The workout may take less time than muscle building, but it is non-stop and has a major benefit on your heart and lungs.
The physics of Form and Function cause your body to adapt to the type of exercising you do. Aerobic activity usually requires the movement of your body only. Because of this, weight resistance does not increase and muscle growth is minimized. Your body will become light and thin. You will not enlarge muscle mass. Your heart and lungs will grow stronger and larger as they develop the capacity to supply greater amounts of oxygenated blood to your muscles. You will lose body fat, since non-stop activity burns many calories. Long distance runners represent an extreme example of aerobic activity. They appear emaciated even though their endurance as well as heart and lung capacities are exceptional.
The key factors in an aerobic exercise plan are age, Target Heart Rate, and Duration. Your age places you within a Training Heart Rate Range (zone). The older you are, the lower the Training Heart Rate Range (zone) needed to achieve aerobics. This holds true for the athlete and the sedentary person alike.
Your vo2 maximum (volume of oxygen used per kilo of body weight per minute) further refines the Training Heart Rate Range (zone) into the specific Target Heart Rate that is right for you. The formula of "220 minus age" is okay for determining your maximum allowable heart rate. But to take an indiscriminate percentage of that number as a Target Heart Rate is simplistic and possibly dangerous. To be appropriate, Target Heart Rates should be determined by absolute or estimated vo2 maximum measurements.
The Biofitness Health Club uses standardized tests accepted around the world to estimate your vo2 maximum. Using your results, the BioFitness Health Club plans a precise aerobic schedule for you. It determines your current aerobic fitness level. After you select your style of aerobic activity, the BioFitness Health Club establishes your Target Heart Rate and Training Heart Rate Range (zone), along with exercise duration. You maximize your aerobic benefit. In a short time your heart beats slower at rest and pumps more blood with each beat.
In aerobics, as with any exercise, you must progress the resistance in order to continue to improve. You do this several ways. You can extend the duration of the activity, take another Aerobic Self Test and increase the training heart rate if appropriate, or add more exercise sessions to your schedule. Every time you re-test your estimated vo2 maximum the BioFitness Health Club automatically upgrades your program to match your results.