What Is The Difference Between Aerobic And Anaerobic Exercises?

Everyone talks about aerobic and anaerobic exercise, but what do those terms mean? Aerobic or anaerobic is linked to the type of energy metabolism that is being used preferentially. This has nothing to do with the health effects of exercise. Both types of exercises can be mild, moderate or strong.

In aerobic exercise, oxygen works as a source of burning the substrates that will produce the energy transported to the active muscle. Aerobic exercise is a long-lasting, continuous exercise of low and moderate intensity. It stimulates the function of the cardiorespiratory and vascular systems and also metabolism, because it increases the cardiac and pulmonary capacity to supply the muscle with energy from the consumption of oxygen (hence the name aerobic).

Examples of aerobic exercises are: walking, running, walking, cycling, swimming, or dancing. These exercises use several muscle groups at the same time. In these exercises, the duration of the movements influences more than the speed to characterize whether the activity is mild, moderate or exhausting.

Anaerobic exercise uses a form of energy that does not depend on the use of oxygen, hence the term anaerobic. It is a high intensity and short duration exercise. It involves intense effort by a limited number of muscles and lactic acid is produced.


Examples of anaerobic exercises are speed exercises with or without a load, of short duration and high intensity, such as the 100 meter dash, the jumps, the shot-put. Strength exercises or resistance exercises, with weight such as weight training is also considered an anaerobic exercise.

The movements we perform in our day-to-day lives are a mix of aerobic and anaerobic physical activities.

We always quote that a complete exercise program must present both types of physical activity, to improve cardiorespiratory endurance, strengthen muscles, slow down muscle loss and prevent bone loss, in addition to a lot of stretching to maintain and improve flexibility muscular.

For loss of body fat, both exercises (aerobic and anaerobic) produce effects, as both will speed up the metabolism. But, the ideal is to associate these two types of exercises to the diet.

Physical exercises will have the function of speeding up the metabolism. The diet, producing a small caloric deficit, forcing the body to metabolize fat reserves.

From the point of view of energy substrates metabolized during exercise, only aerobic exercise can metabolize fats for the production of energy necessary for physical effort. However, this amount is extremely low in view of the amounts needed in a body fat loss process.

In addition, the greatest fat burning occurs during the post-exercise period, a phenomenon called “after burning”, which represents the burning of calories that we have after exercise. Both aerobic and anaerobic exercise cause “after burning”. But this process is more extensive after anaerobic sessions.


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