Effects of Aerobic vs. Resistance Exercise on Muscle Metabolism

Regular physical exercise and training programs are powerful stimuli to strengthen skeletal muscle and to promote health and well-being. Although all the events leading to muscle adaptations to exercise are poorly understood, one important event that regulates the metabolic processes in muacle involves the skeletal muscle mitochondria. The mitochondria are structures within the muscle cells that convert the food we eat into energy. In the body a chemical called ATP or adenosine triphosphate has three high energy chemical bonds connecting the three phosphate atoms on ATP. The mitochondria take up oxgyen and either sugars or fats and produce carbon dioxide and ATP. The mitochondria accomplishc this using molecular machines composed of complex proteins that work on an atomic scale called the electron transport chain. Through multiple metabolic steps, the mitochondria create the energy needed for muscle function. Training can increase the number and activity of the mitochondria in muscle fibers to increase and for each of them to function more efficiently. Aerobic endurance exercise helps to maintain and improve cardiovascular fitness and respiratory function, whereas strength and resistance exercise programs increase muscle strength, power development, and function. Both of these types of training result in more effective muscle mitochondria, but the results of aerobic and resistance training are different and complementary which is why they are often combined in multimodal training programs.

 

Barbieri, Elena et al. “The Pleiotropic Effect of Physical Exercise on Mitochondrial Dynamics in Aging Skeletal Muscle.” Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity 2015 (2015): 917085. PMC. Web. 3 Mar. 2017.