Understanding Common Aerobic Terms | Part 1

by Jsantos, May 5, 2017

Understanding Common Aerobic Terms | Part 1

Sports Medicine

Exercise scientists have often not made it easy for non-members of the scientific community to fully understand aerobic fitness.  Incomprehensible terms and phrases are frequently the rule,  rather than  the exception, in the attempts to explain the procedures and the consequences of aerobic fitness. We are talking about the sensation you get when you go to the doctor and you feel he is explaining to you things in mandarin.

Any listing of the terms and phrases used to discuss the major elements of aerobic training yields an almost inexplicable,  endless, mix of entries:  maximal oxygen consumption, maximal oxygen uptake, maximal aerobic power, cardiorespiratory function, cardiovascular efficiency, circulatory-respiratory response, aerobic power output, anaerobic threshold, lactate threshold, sub maximal  exercise, cardiorespiratory endurance, cardiac growth ,  aerobic work capacity, physical work capacity, cardiovascular response, METs, watts, perceived exertion rate, lactic acid mechanism,  cardiovascular adaptation, and so forth.

Accordingly, before you undertake an aerobic training program for yourself, you need to develop a basic understanding  of the most commonly used aerobic terms.  In each instance, you should attempt to comprehend the term in a context that will enable you to make more informed decision about your personal aerobic training goals and regimen.

Aerobic Fitness is defined as the capacity to take in,  transport,  and utilize oxygen. Oxygen is the key  component.  “ Aerobic”  means in the presence of oxygen.

“Anaerobic”, on the other hand,  means in the absence of oxygen.

Aerobic Exercise refers to moderate physical activity that places demands on the oxygen using pathways that supply blood to your working muscles.  Under all circumstances,  your body strives to meet the energy requirements placed on it in the most efficient manner possible.

Aerobic Strength Endurance involves the many factors that relate to cardiovascular efficiency ( e.g., heart rate, stroke volume, ejection fraction, blood pressure, etc.) plus the maximum volume of oxygen utilized by the working muscles (expressed in ml/kg,min), and efficiency of gas exchange (at the alveolar level).  In addition, research suggests that elite endurance athletes possess several attributes that distinguish them from average performers  (e.g., higher pain  tolerance levels, better mechanical efficiency, greater overall limit strength,  etc.)

Aerobic Training involves exercising aerobically in order to improve your level of aerobic fitness. Over time as you overload your oxygen transport and utilization systems, your body adapts to the demands that are placed upon it.  Collectively,  this process of overload and adaptation is called aerobic training.

Oxygen Deficit,  steady state and oxygen debt are terms that describe the relative quantity of oxygen present during and after exercise.  An “ Oxygen deficit” occurs as you begin to exercise when your demands.  When your oxygen intake meets your demands,  a “steady state”  is achieved.  When you stop exercising and your need (demand) for oxygen slowly returns to resting levels,  whatever oxygen you inspire during this phase that is excess of you resting needs is called the “oxygen debt”.

In order to make this entry easier to ‘digest’ we have divided it in parts. Stay tuned for more.



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