Aerobic Exercise and Anaerobic Exercise
Comparing aerobic and anaerobic exercise and looking at the benefits of both types of exercises on the body. There is also examples of activities which could fall into either category.
Aerobic exercise, Anaerobic exercise, aerobic exercise benefits, anaerobic exercise benefits
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Aerobic Exercise and Anaerobic Exercise

Aerobic Exercise and Anaerobic Exercise

Which exercise is which?

With the Olympics coming to a close and the Paralympics soon to begin, we have been able to see some of the best athletes from around the world engage in some of our favourite sporting events. Some of these are popular like the track and field events whilst other events are new to the Olympics and less well known such as Sport Climbing. The great thing about these competitions is, the variety of events means there is something for everyone and this often encourages people to get involved in sport.  Most of the events will either involve an aerobic element or an anaerobic element and whilst both are good for you, it is useful to know the difference so let’s have a look.

Aerobic exercise.

These exercises usually involve endurance over a longer period of time. The exercise needs oxygen as it’s main fuel for energy and this is why they are called Aerobic – ‘with air’ exercises . Heart rate and breathing rate increase which causes more oxygen intake and blood circulation.

Aerobic exercise will improve your heart and lung function which in turn will make you able to train longer and at a better intensity.

Aerobic exercise usually last for more than 2 minutes and can include:

  • Joggin/log distance running
  • Brisk Walking
  • Dancing
  • Swimming
  • Cycling
  • Skipping


Anaerobic exercise.

These exercises are performed over short period in quick bursts at maximum effort. This type of exercise does not require oxygen hence the name Anaerobic – ‘without air’ exercises . Energy is drawn from 2 different systems; the ATP-CP system and the Lactic acid system.

Anaerobic exercise draws from immediate stored energy. As a result they are great for building strength and burning calories.

Anaerobic exercise usually are performed at maximum (or close to maximum) effort until energy levels are depleted, this can include:

  • Sprinting
  • High Intensity Training (HIT)
  • Heavy weightlifting
  • Short circuit training
  • Plyometrics


The good news about both

If you think about your favourite sports, it probably involves at least one if not both of these types of exercises. Both are crucial for optimal health; Aerobic exercise will increase endurance and anaerobic exercise will increase muscle strength. This can reduce the risk of:

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Osteoporosis
  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • Boost your overall mood

As a general rule if you are not that active it is best to start with aerobic exercise and then when you reach a point where you feel you are no longer progressing then add anaerobic exercises to help take your fitness to the next level be that level 2 or level 100.

If you have any question feel free to ask or leave a comment below, otherwise continue enjoying taking part in your favourite sport and the paralympics.

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