Athletes need high levels of aerobic and anaerobic fitness to achieve maximum sports performance. Both types of exercise benefit the body, but they use energy differently. For example, aerobic metabolism uses oxygen to produce ATP energy for the cells and boosts cardiovascular health. On the other hand, anaerobic metabolism is a non-oxidative process that results in lactic acid. As a result, an athlete who uses both types of training achieves greater benefits.
How Does Aerobic Capacity Affect Performance?
Peak oxygen uptake, also called maximum oxygen volume (VO2max), is a good indicator of aerobic fitness. An athlete with higher peak oxygen uptake can use oxygen more effectively and generate more ATP energy. Aerobic, oxygen-dependent, metabolism supplies most of the ATP energy used in sustained cardio exercises such as jogging and cycling. Increasing aerobic capacity enhances an athlete’s cardiovascular fitness. Better blood flow brings more oxygen and nutrients to muscles, improving flexibility, endurance, and overall sports performance.
How Does Anaerobic Fitness Affect Performance?
Anaerobic exercises include intense physical activity for short bursts such as sprinting, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), and resistance training. When athletes perform these muscular activities, the body uses energy already stored in the muscles. Anaerobic metabolism makes much less ATP and causes lactic acid build-up instead. As a result, anaerobic training improves muscle endurance by increasing tolerance for lactic acid and strengthening fast-twitch muscles.
What is the Relationship Between Aerobic and Anaerobic Fitness?
Some sports involve short sprints and sustained movements, such as soccer and basketball. With such activities, the body switches between anaerobic and aerobic metabolism. Research shows that a combination of aerobic and anaerobic training may improve endurance more than one alone. For example, distance runners who also use resistance training tend to have better overall running economy.
These two types of metabolism affect each other in mutually beneficial ways. For example, anaerobic exercise can positively impact an athlete’s aerobic capacity. Likewise, aerobic capacity helps muscles recover after anaerobic workouts such as HIIT training.
Sports Performance Training
When working with elite athletes, providers are always looking for ways to maximize performance. One way to do that is by maximizing aerobic and anaerobic fitness. An experienced physical therapist can work one-on-one with patients to develop an individualized training plan. Churchill Orthopedic Rehabilitation has the experience and know-how to take sports performance to the next level. To refer a patient, call our office at 201-833-1333.