To lose weight, you have to burn calories at a higher rate than you consume for some time. But the type of calories your body burns is very important: either aerobic or anaerobic calories.
Aerobic calories burn fat as your body breathes in oxygen. Low-intensity activities up to and including walking are mainly fat burning. However, as your body's need for energy becomes greater than your rate of oxygen intake, your body begins burning anaerobic calories.
Anaerobic calories burn glucose by converting a starch stored in your muscles known as glycogen. Since this doesn't require oxygen, anaerobic calories are used in very strenuous activities for short periods.
The accumulation of lactic acid as a by product of anaerobic activity produces a burning sensation in the muscle. This symptom means you are burning glycogen, not fat. You can't feel fat burning!
So it's pretty obvious that in order to lose fat to the maximum, you must concentrate on aerobic activities rather than anaerobic activities. The big question now is which activities are aerobic and which are anaerobic.
The word aerobic literally means 'with oxygen' or 'in the presence of oxygen'. Aerobic exercise is any activity that uses large muscle groups, can be maintained continuously for a long period of time and is rhythmic in nature.
Aerobic activity trains the heart, lungs and cardiovascular system to process and deliver oxygen more quickly and efficiently to every part of the body.
As the heart muscle becomes stronger and more efficient, a larger amount of blood can be pumped with each stroke. Fewer strokes are then required to rapidly transport oxygen to all parts of the body.
An aerobically fit individual can work longer, more vigorously and achieve a quicker recovery at the end of the aerobic session.
Think of aerobic activity as being long in duration yet low in intensity.
Aerobic activities include: brisk walking, biking, jogging, swimming, aerobic classes and cross-country skiing.
Anaerobic activity, on the other hand is short in duration and high in intensity.
Anaerobic activities include: weight lifting, sprinting, softball, soccer and football.