In the majority of cases, people don’t really know whether the exercise they are doing is aerobic or anaerobic, in-fact it doesn’t really cross a lot of minds, as for most people exercise is just a part of their health routines, rather than the avid twice-a-day gym go-ers who will more than likely be clued up on this sort of thing. But what exactly are these two kinds of exercise and how do they work/ influence you? Let’s delve into some science!

Let’s start with aerobic exercise. When we exercise, this is the one we are typically thinking about. When we are aerobically exercising our bodies use fat and glycogen as the fuel (hence the term ‘fat burning’) and this low to moderate level of exertion is easily sustained over long periods of time. This gets you to breathe more heavily, releasing carbon dioxide from the lungs at an excelling rate. Lactic acid production does not occur within aerobic exercise because it burns fat instead of releasing the lactic acid to break down muscle fibers, so they can rebuild stronger.

The benefits of aerobic exercise are very difficult to overstate as it generally improves the overall health of a person; it burns fat, it is heart healthy, it improves mood, strengthens the lungs… need we go on?

Aerobic Exercises you can try:

  • Jogging
  • Swimming
  • Cycling

Anaerobic exercise is different to aerobic exercise as oxygen is not present, we use glycogen as the main fuel and once that supply is depleted, you essentially hit a brick wall … metaphorically speaking. After a while (more than 30 minutes of intense exercise) you’ll notice that your muscles ache and cause some moderate level discomfort, this is down to a build up of lactic acid (an enzyme that breaks down the muscle fibers so the muscles can repair and grow larger/ stronger. Anaerobic exercise is a calorie burner exercise, like intense sprinting, weight lifting and a lot of HIIT exercises. Because of the calorie burning nature of these exercises it is helpful to know them, as this promotes lean muscle mass.

Anaerobic Exercise you can try:

-Sprinting (short intense periods followed by rest – HIIT)

-Weight Lifting (intense rep periods followed by rest)

-Fast intense sit-ups (followed by periods of rest)

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