Aerobic Vs Anaerobic

A Guide to Aerobic vs. Anaerobic Exercises

For years there has been plenty of talk about aerobic vs. anaerobic exercise, but what does it all mean? In a nutshell, it basically boils down to comparing high-oxygen workouts to low-oxygen workouts. This probably sounds a little confusing, but we are going to compare aerobic vs. anaerobic exercises in detail below. Take a look:

What is Aerobic Exercise?

Aerobic exercise is that which requires a great deal of oxygen. Examples would be swimming, jogging, cycling, and kick boxing. You may notice that these exercises are generally known as being good cardio workouts—and that’s exactly what they are. Cardio exercises promote heart health by generating energy through the use of oxygen—which is carried to the muscles by the blood. So not only do the muscles get a good workout, but the heart must also pump quicker to meet the demands of the muscles thus it too becomes stronger.

Aerobic exercises are usually repetitive and performed over a much longer time than anaerobic exercise. For instance, a good aerobic exercise would be to jog or use the treadmill for twenty or thirty minutes. Although the exercise itself is not particularly intense, the fact that it is performed for a longer period of time allows the body to build up its endurance as well as boost the body’s metabolism by causing the body to burn energy quickly.

Anaerobic Exercise

Anaerobic exercise is pretty much the opposite of aerobic exercise, as you might have guessed. This type of exercise obviously does require oxygen, however the energy used to perform this style of exercise is greater than that which can be obtained through oxygen. Therefore, the muscles are forced to work without oxygen. Yes, the body is capable of doing this, but only for a short duration. An intense workout that goes on too long could be very harmful for the body.

So unlike aerobic’s long and steady approach, anaerobic workouts rely on intense exercises performed for a shorter period of time. A few good examples include weightlifting, sit ups, push ups, pull ups, and most types of resistance training. These exercises generally require fewer repetitions because they are so intense in nature.

So, Which is Better?

This is a tough question to answer because both forms of exercise have their benefits. Aerobic exercises promote good oxygen flow in the blood which makes for healthier muscles and organs, and it also encourages heart health. We also can’t forget the added benefit of an increased metabolism, which means that these workouts help to burn fat as you do them!

Anaerobic exercises, on the other hand, have their perks as well. Although they are intense, they take much less time to perform and encourage muscle toning and building. In the beginning stages of building muscle, these workouts actually burn calories because they have to generate energy from somewhere—so they turn to the body’s fat stores for energy. With more muscle mass, simple, every day movements suddenly require more energy (and burn more fat!). Even when the body isn’t moving, such as when one is asleep, the muscles still burn energy!

The fact of the matter is that both forms of exercise are good for you, so you can’t really go wrong with easier. However, instead of making an “aerobic vs. anaerobic” situation out of exercise, why not try both?