Anaerobic vs Aerobic Exercise


Physical activity helps deter cardiovascular disease and mortality. Aerobic and anaerobic exercises will differ based on the intensity, time interval and types of muscle fibers incorporated. 

Aerobic Exercise:

  • Any activity that uses large muscle groups, can be maintained continuously and is rhythmic in nature. (ACSM)
  • Relies on aerobic metabolism to extract energy in the form of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) from amino acids, carbohydrates, and fatty acids.

Anaerobic Exercise:

  • An intense physical activity of very short duration.
  • Fueled by the energy sources within the contracting muscles and independent of the use of inhaled oxygen.


Anaerobic training includes: sprinting, high-intensity interval training, and powerlifting.

Aerobic training includes: cycling, dancing, hiking, jogging / long distance running, swimming, and walking.


Advantages of physical exercise stem from an increase in the cardiac output and an enhancement of innate ability of muscles to extract and utilize oxygen from the blood. Physical exercise has benefits on increasing high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, decreasing adipose tissue distribution, increased insulin sensitivity, improved cognitive function, enhanced response to psychosocial stressors, as well as prevent depression.



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