If you’re someone who’s dedicated to working out or who goes to the gym often, you’ve probably heard the terms aerobic and anaerobic thrown around before. However, not everyone who uses these terms knows exactly what they mean or how important they really are. If you’re interested in learning how to exercise for hours, here’s your beginner’s guide to the aerobic threshold.
What Is the Aerobic Threshold?
Your aerobic threshold is the lowest amount of exercise that your body can handle before your body starts needing to use additional anaerobic respiration for fuel. Once you reach your aerobic threshold, your body now begins relying on anaerobic energy production as well. This isn’t ideal, but you can only breathe in and circulate so much oxygen. One way your body does this is by breaking down lactate into lactic acid.
This produces less energy than aerobic energy, but with the benefit of not requiring oxygen. The problem here is that lactic acid is obviously an acid, and this is the cause of the painful burn you feel when exercising.
What Are the Benefits of Training My Aerobic Threshold?
In theory, increasing your aerobic threshold will reduce the amount of lactic acid buildup, allowing you to perform for extended periods of time without burnout. This is a great tactic for endurance athletes and is used by many cyclists when learning how to pedal farther and faster during long rides. It’s also useful for runners and distance swimmers or other athletes who need to move for long periods without fatigue. Ultimately, if you’re someone who wants to move longer, you need to mitigate lactic acid production as much as possible to avoid pain.
How Do I Train My Aerobic Threshold?
While it may be tempting to exercise as hard as you can to increase your aerobic threshold, you want to focus on low-intensity exercise for longer periods of time. You can do this by training with long jogs, swims, or bike rides. The basic idea is to stretch out the amount of time that you can keep moving rather than going as fast and as hard as you can. You can also achieve this by performing shorter sets of lifting for long periods of time.
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With this beginner’s guide to the aerobic threshold, you’re already on your way to becoming a better and more informed athlete.
Dianne Pajo is a writer based out of the Chicagoland area with a passion for music, combat sports, and animals. She enjoys competing in amateur boxing and kickboxing, but in her other leisure time, you can find her performing music around the city. She is also a dog mom of 2.
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