While the benefits of anaerobic exercise cannot be discounted, there is sufficient scientific evidence to prove that doing very high intensity of anaerobic exercise can lead to oxidative stress in the body.
Oxidative stress in the body occurs due to damage to tissues as a result of free radicals. Even when we are inactive, our body produces small amounts of reactive oxygen species (also known as ROS), which include free radicals. However, our body is able to fight off the ROS due to the antioxidants present in our body. But when we are doing high intensity anaerobic exercise for a long time, the levels of ROS produced increase tremendously and the antioxidants present in the body are insufficient to fight the ROS, leading to oxidative stress and this ends up causing mutations in the cells, damage to the immune system and damage to the tissues.
Anaerobic exercise and oxidative stress are interlinked in the sense that high intensity anaerobic exercise leads to the damage of proteins, lipids and nucleic acids in the cells of the muscles and blood. And there is evidence to show that chronic anaerobic exercising heightens oxidative stress in the body.
Although where oxidative stress is concerned, researchers have ample data where aerobic exercises are concerned but are still trying to understand the details of anaerobic exercise and oxidative stress. Research is ongoing and we do know now that oxidative modifications in the cells are similar to those induced by aerobic exercise but a lot more research needs to be done before we can find out the exact extent and location of the damage caused by oxidative stress induced by anaerobic exercise.
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