How Will You Choose Between Aerobic And Anaerobic Exercises?

aerobic class

image credit: Getty Images - istockphoto

You might have heard about the benefits of aerobic exercises and also have been wondering about what an anaerobic exercise is and whether or not it’s beneficial. Earth’s Wisdom today wants to throw light on this topic so that you can make an informed choice.

Aerobic exercise is actually any kind of cardiovascular conditioning, also known as “cardio”. During cardio, your heartbeat and breathing increase for a constant period of time. Some examples of aerobic exercise are running, biking, or swimming laps.

On the other hand, anaerobic exercise involves rapid surges of energy and is done at maximum exertion for a short time. Examples of anaerobic exercise are heavy weight lifting, sprinting, or jumping.

There is a difference in your heart rate and respiration during aerobic activities and that in anaerobic ones. During aerobic exercise, oxygen is the main source of energy.

You breathe faster and deeper during an aerobic workout than when you are at rest. During these exercises, you get the maximum amount of oxygen in your blood. Your heart beats faster, thereby increasing your blood flow towards the muscles as well as back to the lungs.

On the other hand, your body needs immediate energy during an anaerobic workout. So, your body depends on stored energy sources, instead of oxygen, to fuel itself. Therefore glucose is broken down.

Whether you should take up aerobic or anaerobic activities depends on your health goals. If you are just starting exercising, it may be better for you to start with an aerobic workout so as to develop endurance.

On the other hand, if you are exercising for a while or want quick weight loss, you can add anaerobic activities to your routine. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) or sprints may be helpful to you to meet your health goals.

Advantages Of Aerobic Exercise

There are a number of advantages of aerobic workout, including lessening your risk of diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart attack, and stroke. Other advantages include:

  • May increase your lifespan
  • Elevates mood
  • Makes your heart stronger
  • Boosts the immune system, reducing the likeliness of getting flu or colds
  • Increase your strength and lessen fatigue during workout
  • Help reduce and control blood pressure
  • Help you lose weight and maintain it

Risks Of Aerobic Exercise

Aerobic exercises are very beneficial; however, if you have a chronic condition or been inactive for a while, you should talk to your doctor before starting them. Also, if you are a beginner, you should start very slowly.

Advantages Of Anaerobic Exercise

Anaerobic exercise can benefit you if you want to lose weight or build muscles. It can also benefit you if you’ve been exercising for long and want to meet a new health goal. Other advantages include:

  • Increases strength for activities like dance, hiking, or playing with kids
  • Builds muscles
  • Burns fat
  • Strengthens your bones

Risks Of Anaerobic Exercise

The main risk of anaerobic exercise is that it can be hard on your body. High-intensity anaerobic exercise can be anything more than 7 on the 1 to 10 scale of apparent exertion. So, for beginners, it’s not recommended.

Your doctor’s approval is essential before you add anaerobic exercise to your routine. The program should be designed by a certified fitness trainer after studying your medical history.

How Often Should Aerobic Vs. Anaerobic Workout Be Done?

As suggested by the American Heart Association, healthy adults should get at least 30 minutes of aerobic workout of moderate intensity for at least 5 days a week or at least 25 minutes of aerobic exercise of vigorous-intensity for 3 days a week. An anaerobic workout should be done as per the advice of your doctor and under the supervision of a certified fitness professional.

Thus both aerobic and anaerobic exercises are good (though aerobic exercises are better). But before starting them, you should discuss with your doctor so as to know what’s better for your particular body structure.