Understanding The Difference Between Aerobic And Anaerobic Exercise
Over 250,000 deaths each year in the United States are caused by cardiovascular disease that comes from not engaging in enough physical activity. People between the ages of 5 and 17 should engage in at least one hour of moderate physical activity each day. Adults between the ages of 18 and 64 should look to engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate activity each week, which is a little over 20 minutes per day. This simple change in lifestyle can result in numerous benefits for your physical and mental health.
As you prepare to start an exercise program, you may hear people discussing aerobic and anaerobic exercise. Understanding the difference between the two types of exercise can help you develop a routine and determine the exercises that will help you best accomplish your goals. Here is what you need to know about aerobic and anaerobic exercises and the benefits of each.
What is aerobic exercise?
Aerobic exercise describes most of the types of physical activity that people associate with getting fit. This type of exercise can also be referred to as ‘cardio’. The goal during these workouts is to raise the heart rate and breathing rate to a level that the person can maintain throughout the workout. It requires the heart to pump oxygenated blood to the muscles so that they can continue to perform each movement.
Types of Aerobic Exercise
With such a wide variety of activities counting as aerobic exercise, just about anyone can find something that will interest them. Some ideas to try include:
- Cross country skiing
What is anaerobic exercise?
Anaerobic exercise, on the other hand, refers to physical activities that cause you to get out of breath. These types of exercises happen in short bursts and can result in a buildup of lactic acid. Athletes often use these types of exercises to encourage muscle growth, speed, and strength. Sports that last longer than a few minutes also incorporate aerobic exercises as well to ensure that the body can maintain its performance. For example, runners will build muscle and speed for their races with anaerobic exercises, but also use plenty of aerobic exercise to ensure that they can maintain their race pace.
Examples of Anaerobic Exercise
Anaerobic exercises include activities such as:
- Weight lifting
- High intensity interval training
What are the differences between aerobic and anaerobic exercises?
Both aerobic and anaerobic exercise provide many benefits. They will both strengthen muscles and improve overall health. They can even be the same exercise! If you decide to go for a jog, for example, you engage in aerobic, or cardio exercise. If, at the end of your jog, you decide to sprint to the finish line, you just converted your aerobic exercise into anaerobic.
The biggest difference between aerobic and anaerobic exercise lies in how the body gets its energy. For anaerobic exercises, the muscles will get their energy from glycogen. The break down of this glycogen can then result in the formation of lactic acid in the muscles. Once the glycogen has been used, athletes can expect to ‘hit the wall’ with their exercises, when their energy and performance capacity decreases.
Aerobic exercise, however, depends upon oxygen. This explains why your breathing rate and heart rate increase as you perform these moves. Your body will naturally take in more oxygen to fuel the muscles and give them the energy they need to sustain the movement for an extended period of time. Lung capacity can therefore be improved by as much as 5 to 15 percent just from aerobic exercise.
Encouraging your lungs to work more efficiently can make everyday things, such as walking through your office building, easier.
What are the health benefits of aerobic and anaerobic exercises?
Aerobic and anaerobic exercises both offer plentiful benefits for those who incorporate them into their regular routines.
They both reduce body fat. Aerobic exercise can be a powerful tool to accomplish this goal. As the muscles continue to perform their exercise for an extended period of time, the body will start to burn fat to further continue performance. It will also boost the metabolism, a benefit that continues for several hours even after the exercise has been completed.
Anaerobic exercise will give your metabolism a similar lift. It also helps to grow muscle, and its use of glycogen means that it breaks down sugar in the muscles, both of which will further reduce body fat.
Reducing body fat will not only help people feel better, it also boosts their overall health. These types of exercise will also reduce the person’s risk for various conditions, such as diabetes.
Scientists and researchers have examined the health benefits of exercise on various bodily systems. Numerous studies have found that they benefit the cardiovascular system. Back in 1996, the American Heart Association released research that examined how physical activity improved the health of a number of bodily systems, including the hormonal system, metabolic system, respiratory system, neurological system, and hemodynamic system.
As people engage in physical activity, including both aerobic and anaerobic exercises, they improve the ability of their muscles to extract and then use the oxygen found in the blood. The heart also gets stronger and more efficient in its pumping, which will lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.
The improved function of these bodily systems will increase insulin sensitivity, boost brain functions, and improve the body’s responses to stressors. As an added mental health benefit, it will reduce the risk of depression.
The benefits of including regular exercise in your routine reach nearly all your bodily systems. The improved mental and physical health will help boost your quality of life and give you more energy to enjoy the activities that matter the most to you. Consider your fitness goals, including weight loss, muscle building, and energy levels and begin to build a routine that will work best for you.