Humans have been performing aerobic and anaerobic exercise since the beginning of time. Wondering what the benefits are and if one’s better for you than the other? You’ve come to the right place – we’ve prepared a little overview for you, so keep reading to see which type of exercise works best for your needs.
The key differences
Aerobic exercise includes any kind of activity in which your current oxygen intake is sufficient. In other words, your body doesn’t need additional energy from another source (like from sugar).
Put more simply, an aerobic session will get you slightly out of breath, but it won’t cause you to huff and puff like a sprinter. During an effective aerobic workout, your heart rate reaches up to not more than 70 percent of its maximum rate. It includes exercises that you can sustain for relatively long periods of time such as light jogging, swimming, and brisk walking.
Unlike aerobic workouts, during anaerobic exercise, our oxygen supplies aren’t sufficient enough to meet the energy demands being placed on our bodies.
When we do intense exercises, our bodies may find themselves in an oxygen deficit, leaving our muscles to look elsewhere for the energy they crave. In instances like this, the body turns to glycogen – sugars stored in the body – instead of oxygen for fuel.
It’s only possible to sustain anaerobic exercises for short bursts of time, unlike aerobic exercises which you can maintain for longer periods. Anaerobic activities include high-intensity interval training (HIIT), heavy weight lifting, and jumping rope.
Benefits of aerobic exercise
Broadly speaking, aerobic exercises will burn calories only when you are performing the activity, and they’ll also help you develop stamina.
Meanwhile, anaerobic exercises will burn calories even when the body is at rest. They can aid your stamina, but also help you develop strength and muscle mass. When you do aerobic exercise regularly, you’ll be able to lower your blood pressure and your resting heart rate, which is good for the entire body. You may also lose weight, sleep better and improve your chances of living longer. Still, there are many more unexpected benefits.
One major benefit is that you may have better brainpower. According to a study published in Neurology, exercise can help you think more clearly. Not only that, but aerobic exercise can help lower your levels of anxiety and stress, while also improving your immune system. Maintaining optimal health with aerobic exercise can help reduce your blood pressure, your risk of stroke and certain types of cancer.
Benefits of anaerobic exercise
When you do regular anaerobic exercise, your body will be able to handle lactate more efficiently, effectively managing the burning sensation you get when working out and allowing you to sprint longer or lift heavier weights.
This extra power can give you long-term benefits such as:
- Higher endurance – your other workouts may get easier.
- Stronger muscles – your body could store more energy as muscle mass.
- Weight loss – anaerobic exercises tend to be better at burning fat than aerobic exercises
- Better moods – like aerobic exercise, anaerobic exercise can improve your mental health.
The most effective workout regimen includes a mix of both aerobic and anaerobic activities. Doing both can help you feel better mentally, benefit from more energy and improve your physical fitness. So choose the exercises according to your body fitness level.
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