Aerobic and anaerobic exercises what are they

The aerobic exercises require the heart to pump oxygenated blood to deliver oxygen to the muscles which are being worked on and, thus, is are sometimes called cardio exercises. They stimulate the rate of the hearth and the breathing rate. If performed with high intensity they can
become what we call anaerobic exercises.

The aerobic exercises improve your fitness and benefit your physical and mental health. They reduce the risk of developing depression, osteoporosis, diabetes, cardiovascular conditions and some cancer.

This type of exercise requires energy and this energy is gained by metabolizing glycogen and fats. Should you train aerobically at low to moderate intensity you can sustain this exertion over a long period of time. With aerobic exercises there isn’t production of lactic acids.

There is a great number of benefits of the aerobic exercise. As we already stated, it helps to reduce the risk for certain diseases and improves the level of fitness. But it also improves your mood, strengthens the lungs and the heart, burns fat and may even extend your duration of life.

What happens when you regularly exercise aerobically?

Your heart gets stronger and the stroke volume (a measure of how much blood is pumped out with each beat) is increased. Since there is a greater stroke volume your heart doesn’t need to beat as fast to meet the oxygen demands of the body. The regular performance of aerobic
exercises leads to greater stroke volume and slower heart rate even in resting state. Some high trained athletes even have a heart rate of about 40 beats per minute at rest – while the normal resting heart rate of not as highly trained people is about 60-80 bpm (beats per minute).

The muscles become more efficient in consuming oxygen because they get more active and there are more enzymes transporting oxygen into the muscles from the bloodstream.

The number of mitochondria (which are the so called ‘powerhouses’ of the cells) increase. The mitochondria use the oxygen delivered from the blood to burn carbohydrates and fats which leads to the production of energy.

Anaerobic exercises

When you train anaerobically the oxygen is not present and the used fuel is glycogen. After about two hours the glycogen is depleted and then you reach the point of exhaustion. In order to avoid this the athletes do the so called ‘carbo loading’ – they consume high in carbs foods and
supplements – during the exercise because the carbs are converted to sugars by the body and those sugars give energy, thus, sustaining the performance.

When you do anaerobic exercises lactic acid is produced and builds up in your body. If you keep doing the exercise this lactic acid will lead to discomfort and fatigue. While performing anaerobic exercise one quickly gets ‘out of breath’ – like when one sprints a certain distance.

That type of exercise promotes the build-up of lean muscle mass which then leads to more efficiency in burning of the calories. It’s important for maintenance of the weight and allows for better fitness and endurance levels.

Some of the best aerobic and anaerobic exercises

  • Walking. That’s a type of aerobic exercise and the simplest one. Choose the pace of walking considering the levels of fitness and stamina. This is a simple exercise which doesn’t require any equipment – you can simply put on your shoes and go out for a walk. The same benefits can be gained by walking indoors, outdoors and on a treadmill. Still, if you go for a walk early in the morning you get the additional benefit of getting some fresh air. Walking is the perfect exercise for all people with joint problems.
  • Lunges. Those work on your lower body muscles and improve the balance. Lunges are simple to perform – you stand straight and step forward, then bend your front knee at a 90-degree angle, balance the weight on the back toes and lower your back knee down until it’s just above the floor.
  • Weight lifting. This is an awesome anaerobic exercise but you should do it under supervision.
  • Biking. This is an aerobic exercise which allows your body to use up the glycogen and the fats as a fuel. You can do in moderately for quite a long period of time or you can turn it into an anaerobic exercise if you want – just do it for a short period of time (with a time for rest between them) with a high intensity.
  • Rowing. For this exercise you should lie down and your feet should be put in the stirrups.
    Start pulling your arms backward simulating a rowing movement. The rowing works on the arms, legs and abdomen. The best results can be gotten if you divide the exercise into two parts – a warm up and an intense workout.
  • Sprinting. A wonderful anaerobic exercise which boosts your overall health and, most importantly, the health of your heart. For the best results vary the running pace on every 5-10 minutes, increasing the duration as you get more experienced. To get the most benefit you should do the exercise for no less than 15-30 minutes.
  • Interval training. It’s advised to include interval training into the cardio training session in order to promote the weight loss. To do that you should increase your training pace for 1-2 minutes after which you can go back to the regular workout pace for a certain duration of time which depends on your recovery time (usually for about 10 minutes). This cycle has to be repeated during the whole training session.
  • Swimming sprints. Those are like the running sprints. They are an anaerobic exercise and at the beginning you should swim at normal speed, gradually increasing the pace and maintaining it for a short duration. Afterwards you should go back to your regular speed.
    Repeat this cycle throughout your swimming session.
  • Jumping rope. No, that’s not something only kids do. Haven’t you noticed how many boxers use jumping rope as a part of their training session? This is due to some serious reasons. It has both anaerobic and aerobic qualities and you can increase or decrease the pace of the exercise to get the different benefits of both types of exercises. If you perform it at a normal speed, jumping rope is an aerobic exercise, while when performed at increased pace, it’s anaerobic exercise.
  • Isometrics. The isometric exercises include a specific group of muscles and don’t lengthen or stretch the muscles. Usually during this type of exercise the muscles don’t move at all. Isometrics are highly recommended when one is recovering from a muscle injury. They involve static exercises where you should stay in a stationary position.


So, in summary, aerobic exercises require oxygen and don’t produce lactic acid, while anaerobic exercises don’t require oxygen, quickly deplete your energy sources and lead to the production of lactic acid. Both types of exercises have their own benefits so you should try your best to implement them both in your training session in order to keep your body healthy, maintain your weight (or even lose weight), improve your fitness, your health and reduce the risk of developing different diseases.


Recent Posts

Start typing and press Enter to search