Running, jogging or even pootling provide the body with the foundation on which to build other components of fitness. Does it have to be running? NO, it’s about building a base of stamina or endurance or cardio vascular fitness or aerobic fitness – to name a few terms.
Whatever, your physical activity, aerobic fitness provides a base regardless of the specific energy system demands of your actual activity. There are two basic energy systems you use when training anaerobic (without the presence of oxygen) and aerobic (in the presence of oxygen). Unfortunately, you can’t build both your aerobic and anaerobic systems at the same time efficiently.
Why is this important? The more work you perform aerobically, the more efficient your body becomes. This means that your body becomes a more efficient fat burning machine. Fat is the most energy dense nutrient. The body can never convert fat rapidly enough for what you will require in your activity. Though, the more fat you burn, the less of your treasured carbohydrate (glycogen) stores your body will tap into. Therefore, you can optimise your body becoming a fat burning machine.
What else? Training your aerobic system will increase the mitochondria in your muscle cells to generate energy (ATP Adenosine Triphosphate) and increase the density of capillary vascularisation for superior oxygen utilisation – What? Basically this is body’s ability to utilise oxygen more efficiently through the increased number of capillaries feeding the working muscles. These specialised cells (mitochondria) burn fat and glucose (sugar), but they’re significantly more efficient using fat as energy over glucose.
Ensuring you have a sound aerobic base level, will also improve many other long term physiological aspects of your body – for example the cardiovascular abilities of the working muscles. This enables more effective delivery of oxygen and fuel, and more efficient process of the removal of waste products such as lactic acid. Your body reduces the rate of lactate formation thus improving the rate of lactate removal.
It is this system which provides a solid foundation for good health. It is also the system which primarily ensures that you can efficiently move throughout the day. Developing a strong aerobic base will also benefit your body’s ability to recover.
So no matter what your goal is, remember it is vital to train this system. Go slow for a change, as like anything it takes time for your body to make adaptations. Whether you want to become faster, have more stamina, stronger, remember to mix it and switch it!