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‘ Aerobic ’ and ‘ Anaerobic ’ terms used in exercise physiology: a critical terminology reflection

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ABSTRACT

The purpose of this Current Opinion article is to focus on the appropriate use of the terms ‘aerobic’- and ‘anaerobic’-exercise in sports medicine, in order to try to unify their use across coaches/athletes and sport scientists. Despite the high quality of most of the investigations, the terms aerobic/anaerobic continue to be used inappropriately by some researchers in exercise science. Until late 2014, for instance, 14,883 and 6,136 articles were cited in PubMed, in the field of ‘exercise science’, using the words ‘aerobic’ or ‘anaerobic’, respectively. In this regard, some authors still misuse these terms. For example, we believe it is wrong to classify an effort as ‘anaerobic lactic exercise’ when other metabolic pathways are also simultaneously involved. It has extensively been shown that the contribution of the metabolic pathways mainly depends on both exercise intensity and duration. Therefore, it is our intent to further clarify this crucial point and to simplify this terminology for coaches and sports scientists. In this regard, several research articles are discussed in relation to the terminology used to describe the predominant metabolic pathways active at different exercise durations and the oversimplification this introduces. In conclusion, we suggest that sports scientists and field practitioners should use the following terms for all-out (‘maximal’) efforts based on exercise duration: (a) ‘Explosive Efforts’ (duration up to 6 s, with preponderance of the ‘phosphagens’ metabolic pathway’); (b) ‘High Intensity Efforts’ (efforts comprised between >6 s and 1 min, with preponderance of the ‘glycolytic pathway’), and (c) ‘Endurance Intensive Efforts’ (for exercise bouts longer than 1 min, with preponderance of the ‘oxidative phosphorylation pathway’).

No MeSH data available.


Use of terms ‘aerobicandanaerobic’ in exercise science on Pubmed as of December 2014.
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Fig1: Use of terms ‘aerobicandanaerobic’ in exercise science on Pubmed as of December 2014.

Mentions: The purpose of the present ‘Current Opinion article’ is therefore to highlight the errors underlying particular nomenclature. This should help to standardize the terminologies published by scientists across the world. In that regard, the aerobic/anaerobic terminology in sport science (Figure 1) raises some issues for the following reasons:


‘ Aerobic ’ and ‘ Anaerobic ’ terms used in exercise physiology: a critical terminology reflection
Use of terms ‘aerobicandanaerobic’ in exercise science on Pubmed as of December 2014.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC5016084&req=5

Fig1: Use of terms ‘aerobicandanaerobic’ in exercise science on Pubmed as of December 2014.
Mentions: The purpose of the present ‘Current Opinion article’ is therefore to highlight the errors underlying particular nomenclature. This should help to standardize the terminologies published by scientists across the world. In that regard, the aerobic/anaerobic terminology in sport science (Figure 1) raises some issues for the following reasons:

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

The purpose of this Current Opinion article is to focus on the appropriate use of the terms ‘aerobic’- and ‘anaerobic’-exercise in sports medicine, in order to try to unify their use across coaches/athletes and sport scientists. Despite the high quality of most of the investigations, the terms aerobic/anaerobic continue to be used inappropriately by some researchers in exercise science. Until late 2014, for instance, 14,883 and 6,136 articles were cited in PubMed, in the field of ‘exercise science’, using the words ‘aerobic’ or ‘anaerobic’, respectively. In this regard, some authors still misuse these terms. For example, we believe it is wrong to classify an effort as ‘anaerobic lactic exercise’ when other metabolic pathways are also simultaneously involved. It has extensively been shown that the contribution of the metabolic pathways mainly depends on both exercise intensity and duration. Therefore, it is our intent to further clarify this crucial point and to simplify this terminology for coaches and sports scientists. In this regard, several research articles are discussed in relation to the terminology used to describe the predominant metabolic pathways active at different exercise durations and the oversimplification this introduces. In conclusion, we suggest that sports scientists and field practitioners should use the following terms for all-out (‘maximal’) efforts based on exercise duration: (a) ‘Explosive Efforts’ (duration up to 6 s, with preponderance of the ‘phosphagens’ metabolic pathway’); (b) ‘High Intensity Efforts’ (efforts comprised between >6 s and 1 min, with preponderance of the ‘glycolytic pathway’), and (c) ‘Endurance Intensive Efforts’ (for exercise bouts longer than 1 min, with preponderance of the ‘oxidative phosphorylation pathway’).

No MeSH data available.