Understanding the difference between Aerobic and Anaerobic exercise

Most people think about exercise as aerobic. This is always the case since high energy classes are always what most gyms offer. However, you should note that aerobic exercises are not just limited in those classes. Most people also consider low to moderate exertion as aerobic exercises. So how can you draw the line between the difference of aerobic and anaerobic exercises? In layman’s term, the difference boils down to oxygen. With aerobic exercises, the oxygen the oxygen is transported to your breath which then gives your muscles the energy you need to sustain the exercise. Oxygen however isn’t present with anaerobic exercises.

There are many benefits you can infer when doing aerobic exercises. It does not only improve your overall health status and quality of life but it also extends your life span. When you do aerobic exercises, you burn fat, improve your mood and also strengthen the heart and lungs as well as reduce your risk for certain diseases like diabetes.

The most common types of aerobic exercises are running (which should be at a comfortable pace, enabling you to talk without breathing so hard), biking and swimming.

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Some facts about aerobic exercises

  • Aerobic exercises are also known as cardio exercises.
  • These type of exercises usually stimulates the heart rate as well as breathing rate in a way to sustain the exercise session. On the contrary, anaerobic exercises usually causes you to be out of breath like in lifting heavy weights or sprinting.
  • Aerobic exercises can be converted to anaerobic exercises if it is performed at a high level intensity
  • With aerobic exercises you can prevent certain diseases such as depression, cancer, osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease

Anaerobic exercises in brief

Anaerobic exercises on the one hand do not have oxygen. During anaerobic exercises, your glycogen stores are used to fuel your workout. Once you experience glycogen depletion (which is mostly within 2 hours), you can already expect hitting the proverbial wall. Most endurance athletes try to avoid this by loading their exercise with carbs which is converted to sugar, giving them more energy for the workout.

When doing anaerobic exercises, the body usually builds up lactic acid which is the main cause of discomfort and fatigue during sustained levels. For this, high intensity exercise should only be done in short bursts like doing a sprint.

The primary benefit of doing anaerobic exercises is that is helps build lean muscle mass. For bodies that have more muscles, calories are burned efficiently. Anaerobic exercises are mostly recommended for weight management as it will help you burn more calories. You can also build your endurance with anaerobic exercises.



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