What’s the difference between aerobic and anaerobic exercise? And is one better than the other? Well, that depends on what you hope to achieve. In technical terms, aerobic refers to things which require oxygen, while anaerobic refers to things that do not. By this definition alone, all exercise is aerobic as we all need oxygen not just to exercise, but to survive in the first place. However, in the case of exercise, aerobic and anaerobic takes on a different meaning.
Thus, the fundamental difference between aerobic and anaerobic exercises, comes down to the oxygen intake. With aerobic exercise, there is a constant flow of oxygen provided to your muscles to give them energy to sustain the effort, while in anaerobic exercise, oxygen is not regularly supplied to the muscles.
So you should be able to tell that from the oxygen intake, aerobic exercises are generally of lower to moderate intensity, which still allows you to breathe normally, while anaerobic exercises are usually those of high intensity, which should leave you trying to catch your breath.
Aerobic exercise causes our body to burn oxygen, glycogen and fat as fuel, as we need the energy to exercise. You should feel comfortable doing aerobic exercise, as you aren’t pushing yourself too much. This is thus considered a low to moderate level of exertion, and can be sustained for a prolonged period of time. Heavy breathing however causes more carbon dioxide to be produced and expelled from your body. However, lactic acid is not produced in great amounts as with anaerobic exercise.
Benefits of Aerobic Exercise
Aerobic exercise brings with it many benefits, that cannot be emphasized enough. Aside from improving overall health and quality of life, studies have shown that aerobic exercise may also serve to extend your life. Specifically, aerobic exercises helps you to burn fat and lose weight, to improve your mood, strengthen your heart and your lungs, while reducing the risk of you getting diabetes.
Types of Aerobic Exercise
Types of aerobic exercise commonly done includes running at a comfortable pace(where you don’t feel like you’re over exerting), cycling and swimming.
In contrast to aerobic exercises, anaerobic exercises forces your body to work with little to no oxygen. Anaerobic exercise consumes glycogen, which due to the lack of oxygen, leads to the rapid production of lactic acid. This causes discomfort and fatigue, and usually leads to muscle cramps. Thus, anaerobic exercises are usually done in short bursts, as the lactic buildup will overwhelm the muscles and prevent further releases of energy.
Benefits of Anaerobic Exercise
What anaerobic exercise brings to the table includes the building of lean muscle mass. Also, calories are more efficiently burnt, thus would be very helpful for those who seek to manage their weight, as even afterwards during rest, calories continue to be burnt. Furthermore, anaerobic exercise also helps build endurance and fitness levels.
Types of Anaerobic Exercise
Anaerobic exercises comes in many forms, and is generally those of high intensity, and requires energy in short bursts. For example, sprinting, lifting weights and even certain forms of dance can be considered anaerobic exercise.
For the best results, do mix up both aerobic and anaerobic exercises in your regimen to improve weight loss and overall fitness.