Step up your aer­o­bic ca­pac­ity

The Citizen (KZN) - - Sport -

Christ­mas time is fast ap­proach­ing and if you haven’t no­ticed, your con­sump­tion of food has been a lit­tle more fes­tive than usual and that is due to the end of year of­fice par­ties, friends par­ties, kids Christ­mas par­ties and “aaah heck” all those drinks af­ter the boys’ Fri­day golf.

If you are a fam­ily man, then the real fear is fast ap­proach­ing with Christ­mas Eve, Christ­mas, Box­ing Day and New Year. I am sure De­cem­ber was de­signed strate­gi­cally to fat­ten you up to make you look a lit­tle like Santa’s adopted chubby elf or elfet.

Fear not my fel­low war­riors, we will tackle moms and grannies, Christ­mas pud­ding one bite, I mean one step, at a time to­gether.

You need to no doubt in­crease your aer­o­bic ca­pac­ity dur­ing this time of year, to at least two to three times what you would nor­mally do if you want your new year’s res­o­lu­tion list to be shorter. A gym, a CrossFit or a HIIT ses­sion is not enough. This time of year, you re­ally need to haul butt and NO, it’s not too late. It’s never too late!

First up, you need to un­der­stand what aer­o­bic ca­pac­ity is, then un­der­stand the ben­e­fits to you and lastly, for­mu­late a strat­egy to get you un­scathed into the new year.

What is an ath­lete’s aer­o­bic ca­pac­ity?

An ath­lete’s aer­o­bic ca­pac­ity is the abil­ity to use the oxy­gen in our body and mus­cles to fuel ex­er­cise ac­tiv­ity. Dur­ing ex­er­cise, your mus­cles rely on oxy­gen sup­ply and car­bo­hy­drates for en­ergy to keep you go­ing through those low to mod­er­ate in­ten­sity train­ing ses­sions. These come in the form of glyco­gen and fats in the mus­cles and body.

How does aer­o­bic ca­pac­ity ben­e­fit an ath­lete?

The more oxy­gen an ath­lete con­sumes, the more work the ath­lete can do as the mus­cles have the nec­es­sary en­ergy to fuel the ex­er­cise ac­tiv­ity. Think of it this way – if you are pre­par­ing for a drive down to Dur­ban this hol­i­day, but only have a quar­ter tank of petrol, how do you ex­pect to make it all the way to your sunny beach hol­i­day? You need to en­sure that you have the right amount of fuel in the car to get you to your des­ti­na­tion, and the same goes for fuelling your body for ex­er­cise and ac­tiv­ity.

How can I add aer­o­bic ca­pac­ity train­ing into my daily life?

There are three ways you can in­crease the amount of aer­o­bic ca­pac­ity in your daily lives. Re­mem­ber, even though I said you need to work two to three-times your nor­mal level, walk­ing ev­ery day for three kilo­me­tres in­stead of one km is still three-times your daily move­ment goal. Work within your ca­pac­ity but al­ways con­sult a doc­tor be­fore start­ing a new ex­er­cise pro­gram. One of your main goals for 2020 is to in­crease your move­ment, even if Santa needs to buy you a Fit­bit for Christ­mas to mea­sure you heart rate and step count. The goal is to move! By mov­ing you are ex­pend­ing more daily con­sis­tent en­ergy.

Three ex­er­cises you can add to your Christ­mas rou­tine

1 Walk­ing briskly – af­ter lunch this week & next week, make an ef­fort to go for a walk which doesn’t need to be too far, but the change I want you to make is to step up the in­ten­sity of the walk to a brisk walk, where we have the arms mov­ing with the body and legs as we pick up the pace from a gen­eral walk to go and get a cup of cof­fee. Imag­ine, this is the last cup of cof­fee avail­able in your area, and you need to get there! Start by walk­ing for fve min­utes in the evening and then as each day passes, in­crease that time by 60 sec­onds each walk.

2 Swim­ming – By in­clud­ing light swim­ming into your daily tasks, we are able to im­prove our aer­o­bic ca­pac­ity. The in­ten­sity of the swim doesn’t need to be any higher than a nor­mal swim, how­ever we can change the dis­tance and time we swim to im­prove our aer­o­bic ca­pac­ity even fur­ther. Each time you go for your swim, add an ex­tra two laps onto your to­tal laps done that day.

3 Climb­ing stairs at work – Maybe you have been look­ing for the per­fect ex­cuse to take the stairs each day? Well this is it, the sign you have been look­ing for. Stair climb­ing re­quires about eight-11 kcal of en­ergy per minute which shows us that ac­tive stair climbers are more fit and have a higher aer­o­bic ca­pac­ity.

Im­prov­ing aer­o­bic ca­pac­ity can have many ben­e­fits for you, whether want­ing to lose those un­wanted bulges over the Christ­mas pe­riod or even com­plet­ing strength train­ing pre­par­ing for your next WOD or com­pe­ti­tion. Here are two ex­am­ples:

1 By en­hanc­ing aer­o­bic ca­pac­ity, we im­prove blood and oxy­gen nu­tri­ent flow to the mus­cles that need them at any given time. This will also help with your re­cov­ery pe­riod post-work­out as in­creased oxy­gen to mus­cles speeds up the re­pair and re­cov­ery process.

2 By in­creas­ing our oxy­gen sup­ply to mus­cles, we im­prove mi­to­chon­drial den­sity. Mi­to­chon­dria are the or­ganelles of a mus­cle that help pro­duce Adeno­sine Triphos­phate (ATP) which is the ac­tual fuel we spoke of ear­lier, that sup­plies mus­cle con­trac­tions. By do­ing this, we are im­prov­ing a mus­cle’s abil­ity to use oxy­gen which also im­proves the over­all health and func­tion of the cells.

Pictures: iStock

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