Whether you are an Olympic athlete, a dedicated yogi or you simply choose to use the staircase instead of the elevator, something is burning while you are moving. What exactly is being used? What is burning? According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the current exercise recommendation for adults is at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of high-intensity aerobic activity per week.
Physical activity is split into two categories: aerobic and anaerobic. Aerobic exercises use oxygen and include endurance sports such as long-distance running. Anaerobic exercises do not use oxygen and include non-endurance activities such as weight lifting. The major sources of energy are derived from the protein in your muscles, the glucose in your food, and the fatty acids in your adipose tissue. The body has many different sources that it draws energy from depending on the intensity and duration of physical activity performed. As intensity increases, more glucose is used; when the intensity decreases and duration increases, more fat and glycogen is burned.
During moderate-intensity exercise that lasts for one to three hours, the usage and burning of fat is at the highest level. Not as much fat is burned during high-intensity exercise because fat cannot be oxidized at a sufficient enough rate to provide the needed energy. Therefore, for weight loss and weight maintenance, moderate-intensity exercise is best; whereas high-intensity exercise is best for muscle building and training. Depending on your individual wellness goals, you can adjust the duration and intensity of your physical activity routine.
Written by: Ashley Nguyen, Wellness Workdays Dietetic Intern
1. Gropper, S. A., & Smith, J. L. (2013). Advanced nutrition and human metabolism. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Cengage Learning.
2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention