If you want to improve your health, exercise is a great place to start. There are two main types of exercise—aerobic and anaerobic. Aerobic exercise means that your body uses oxygen to create energy, while in anaerobic exercise, the body relies on energy sources within the muscles. While both types of exercise are important, they have different effects.

Inactivity can be hazardous to your health. According to a study published in the World Journal of Cardiology, 30% of ischemic heart disease is caused by a lack of physical activity. The World Health Organization recommends that adults ages 18–64 should participate in at least 2.5 hours of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week.

 
Anaerobic Exercises
Anaerobic exercise is done in short bursts of intense activity, which require more energy than what your body is able to produce with oxygen alone. This forces your body to turn glucose in your muscles into energy. Effective anaerobic exercise can only be sustained for 90 to 120 seconds before the body begins using oxygen to continue converting energy. The popular high-intensity interval training (HIIT), plyometrics, sprinting and weight lifting are all examples of anaerobic exercise.

 
Benefits of Anaerobic Exercise
Anaerobic exercise can burn more calories in a short amount of time while also building muscle mass and burning fat. The impact on your body also helps to strengthen joints and bones. Anaerobic exercise can benefit both cardiovascular and psychological health.

 
Aerobic Exercises
Aerobic exercise allows you to keep your heart rate up for an extended period of time because it can be sustained by your oxygen intake. Your body continuously fuels the muscles with oxygenated blood to support the exercise.

Any type of low- or moderate-intensity exercise is considered aerobic, including walking, running, cycling, dancing, water aerobics, spinning, elliptical exercise, swimming, cross-country skiing, skating, basketball, soccer, hiking, and racquet sports.

 
Benefits of Aerobic Exercise
Aerobic exercise burns fat using the oxygen that you inhale. Aerobic exercise is good for your cardiovascular system because it strengthens the heart and increases the maximum amount of oxygen your body can utilize, which increases your endurance. Research has shown that aerobic exercise can reduce the risk of developing many health issues, such as cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, obesity, and can also help to alleviate anxiety and depression.

 

Any type of physical activity will benefit your body and mind, but the most effective exercise programs include a mixture of aerobic and anaerobic exercise and incorporate appropriate rest periods. The ways in which you can get aerobic and anaerobic exercise are nearly limitless, so pick some of your favorite activities, and have fun building a stronger, healthier body.

Sara M

Sara M

Sara M. is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and freelance writer living and working near Boston, MA. As a former CrossFit gym owner and current fitness lover, Sara has a lot of personal and professional experience inside and outside the gym. She loves to write about various topics related to health, wellness, nutrition, human behavior, and self-mastery.

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