An Overview Of Aerobic And Anaerobic Exercise

April 8, 2012 by  
Filed under Anaerobic Exercises

Article by George Hutton

If you’ve been to any gym recently, you may have noticed that all the exercise equipment is sectioned off according to type. The free weights and machines are in one area, and the bikes, treadmills, rowing machines, and aerobics area is in another. This is because all exercises are roughly broken up into two categories, aerobic and anaerobic exercises. To decide which one is best for you, it helps to understand what your exercise goals are. In this article you’ll learn a basic overview so that you can do that.

The difference between aerobic and anaerobic exercise is how the body generates the energy needed for movement. Aerobic exercise is much more efficient, and can be sustained for longer periods of time. It is more dependent on oxygen for movement. Even sitting there reading this article, you are generating energy through the use of oxygen, and are doing low level aerobic exercise. Anaerobic exercise on the other hand, uses only the stored energy in the muscles, and not oxygen. Anaerobic exercise can only be sustained for short periods of time before a need for oxygen is generated.

The main purpose for aerobic exercise is to provide fat loss, and cardiovascular health. When you are engaged in aerobic activity, you are likely using your legs to do most of the work, such as jogging, walking, and bicycling. Generally speaking, people that do a lot of aerobic activity are slender and don’t carry around a lot of body fat. They are also incredibly flexible.

The main drawbacks to aerobic exercise is that it doesn’t do anything for the muscle tone in your upper body. Long distance runners aren’t known for their chiseled looks nor their upper body strength, despite the incredible health of their heart, lungs, and legs.

With anaerobic exercise, short bursts of exertion create a growth in muscle tissue, leading to stronger and larger muscles. Through specific exercises, you can sculpt your body any way you like. This is likely the biggest draw to anaerobic exercises.

Some of the drawbacks of pure anaerobic workouts are lack of flexibility, and less cardiovascular health than their long distance running buddies on the other side of the gym. Although lifting weights gives you a better cardiovascular workout than sitting on the couch, it is not nearly as good as long distance running. Also, there are some that think that getting big and bulky may contribute to high blood pressure.

What is likely the best thing to do, unless you are training for a specific event, is to combine both cardiovascular, or aerobic activity, with anaerobic, or weight training. That way you’ll get the best of both worlds, and enjoy all the benefits.

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