What Is Aerobic and Anaerobic Exercise?

Many people get confused between the technical terms – aerobic and anaerobic exercise. It’s really quite simple and we’ve broken it down for you with some great examples that you can implement in your routines.

Aerobic Exercise

aerobic and anaerobic exerciseAerobic exercise is a form of activity that involves low intensity but over a period of time. If you go to the gym then you should be familiar with its other name ‘cardio’.

Any activity that causes your heart, lungs and muscles to work overtime and you’re able to sustain it for at least a few minutes, then it’s considered aerobic or cardio exercise.

What are the benefits of aerobic exercise?

  • Doing regular aerobic exercise will help your body to burn off more calories and is the only form of exercise that’ll directly burn off fat.
  • It makes your respiratory system stronger by improving the efficiency of how your system supplies oxygen.
  • It reduces the build-up of plaque in your arteries and keeps them clear by raising HDL cholesterol (good) and lowering LDL cholesterol (bad).
  • The strongest muscle in your body – your heart, will become stronger. This means that blood is pumped around your entire body more efficiently which results in effective removal of toxins and waste materials from your body.
  • Cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure , arthritis and stroke are all conditions that can prevented by doing regular aerobic exercise.
  • Protects you from illnesses by strengthening your immune system.

Examples of Aerobic Exercise

  • Low intensity swimming
  • Cycling
  • Walking
  • Rowing
  • Rope skipping
  • Jogging

You can improve on your aerobic conditioning by increasing the pace, duration and distance at which you’re performing a certain activity.

So if you’ve been jogging for 3 miles twice a week for a few weeks, then you should increase this distance to 3.5 miles and then increase it again when you feel you can push it a bit further. Alternatively, you stick to the same distance but complete your jog in a shorter timescale.

Anaerobic Exercise

aerobic and anaerobic exerciseExplosiveness and intensity are attributes that best describes what anaerobic exercise consists of. It’s utilizing a group of muscles in your body to perform a certain activity to maximum effect.

This means that your body can only perform this activity of a short time span, around 2 minutes. Any more than that then an aerobic element kicks in.

What are the benefits of anaerobic exercise?

  • It can help prevent healthy problems such as type 2 diabetes, low back pain, and arthritis. Just like aerobic, anaerobic exercise also strengthens your immune system.
  • Helps to shape your body for a better appearance. Strength training is the most effective way to build and tone muscles giving you a healthier and stronger appearance.
  • Increases bone density and strength by going through intense training that puts pressure on your bones structure. Your bones will adapt and become stronger instead of becoming soft and brittle.

Examples of Anaerobic Exercise?

  • Lifting weights
  • Pull ups
  • Sprinting
  • Jump squats

The more explosive activities that you do, then the stronger your body will naturally become. Whenever a part of your body aches the next morning after perform a form of anaerobic exercise, you must allow your muscles to heal and you’ll be able to perform at a higher level next time.

In order to reach your physical fitness peak, you need to train on both aerobic and anaerobic exercise as they go hand in hand with each other. You mustn’t neglect either one because they’re both essential to maintain a healthy body and mind. Read about how to improve your anaerobic endurance.


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