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Hindu Squats vs. Running for Aerobic Fitness

by 
author image Louise D E Jensen
Louise D E Jensen has written professionally since 1991. She has authored more than 12 books, has appeared on CTV news as a fitness and nutrition expert, and is featured in the "Globe and Mail." She holds degrees in dietetics and epidemiology from the University of British Colombia and the University of Toronto.
Hindu Squats vs. Running for Aerobic Fitness
Hindu Squats vs. Running for Aerobic Fitness Photo Credit: Milkos/iStock/GettyImages

One way to improve aerobic fitness is by engaging in long bouts of repetitive movements that work many of the muscles in the body at one time. This is called aerobic exercise, and running is a classic example.

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Hindu squats are a strength-training exercise, meaning you do them in sets for a limited period of time. Both draw on the aerobic energy system and can influence aerobic fitness, but running is far better at increasing aerobic capacity.

What is Aerobic Fitness?

Aerobic fitness is your body's ability to convert oxygen from the air into energy. The oxygen you inhale while you're runnings has to make it to the muscles in order for your muscles to keep up activity. That's where your heart comes in. Your heart pumps fresh blood to all your muscles, which not only supplies necessary nutrients but also oxygen. Your muscles use that oxygen to break down glucose and fats into adenosine-triphosphate, or ADP -- the main source of cellular energy.

The more effectively your heart can pump blood throughout your body, the better able you are to sustain activity. As you run, your heart rate rises in order to get more oxygenated blood to your muscles. With continued aerobic exercise, your heart gets stronger, able to pump more blood to your muscles more efficiently. Your heart doesn't have to beat as hard to move blood, and aerobic exercise feels easier.

Duration Matters

The duration is the main factor that characterizes aerobic exercise. Doing a sustained series of fast Hindu squats over an extended period of time could be a cardiovascular workout -- if you could do them for long enough. However, this is an intensive exercise, of which the average person could only sustain about 12 to 25 reps. If you are using just your body weight you might be able to do more, but not for more than two minutes without resting.

Running on the other hand is something that people who have a moderate level of cardiovascular fitness can do for a longer period of time. Many people jump on the treadmill for 30 minutes, or go out for a 5-mile jog. These longer periods of exertion train the heart and lungs to work more effectively and efficiently for the long haul.

Read more: Definition of Aerobic Fitness

Benefits of Hindu Squats

Hindu squats also require energy, so they do impact aerobic fitness to some extent, but not by much. They're still worthwhile, though. They strengthen your hamstrings, glutes, quadriceps and calves, as well as your core muscles. Strengthening your muscles helps the body become more efficient at consuming and using oxygen.

In addition, balancing on your toes works the small stabilizer muscles of your lower body and core that keep you from falling. As a result Hindu squats also improve your balance and coordination.

High-intensity Interval Training

Another activity that improves your aerobic fitness involves repeating working intervals at a very high intensity for a short period of time, then recovering at a lower intensity. This type of training can improve your aerobic capacity as well as steady-state cardio, and potentially in less time. You can sprint instead of run for one minute, then recover for one to two minutes. Repeat these intervals several more times.

You can also work resistance exercises, such as Hindu squats, into your interval workout. Try doing a set of 12 to 15 reps of Hindu squats, then sprinting for one minute, followed by two minutes of recovery. Repeat this series several more times. Your legs will feel the burn as your heart gets stronger.

Read more: What Is the Difference Between Aerobic & Anaerobic

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