Anaerobic vs. Aerobic Exercise

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Difference between Anaerobic and Aerobic Exercise

Fitness used to be something that humans engaged in just by going through their daily activities. The concept of exercise used to really just be “living”. As modernism took over and working in fields and manual labor began to be replaced by computers and modern conveniences, exercise became a necessity. Working one’s body in order to maintain health is a concept that has created an entire industry and field of study. Seemingly simple, exercise can really be complex. There are two forms of exercise that define the way in which we work our muscles. Anaerobic and aerobic exercises are both important for our health and well-being.

Anaerobic
Aerobic Exercise

Fast Twitch and Slow Twitch Muscles

Anaerobic and aerobic exercises are quite independent of each other. They both require the recruitment of muscle fibers. Anaerobic exercise, however, requires the performance from fast twitch muscles, while aerobic exercise requires the use of slower twitch muscles. They train muscles differently specific to the muscle fiber used. Fast twitch muscles are those that deal with short bursts of intense activity, while slow twitch muscles deal with sustained endurance over a prolonged period of time.

Bursts of Energy or Sustained Energy

Anaerobic and aerobic exercises also differ in the way they are performed and the amount of energy, not only that they require, but that they sustain. Anaerobic exercises use short bursts of high-intensity energy, while aerobic exercises use slower, less intense energy but sustained over a longer period of time. Some examples of aerobic exercise are running, walking and swimming. In contrast, anaerobic exercises are those that build the muscle tissue through very short periods of time, such as in body building. The aim of anaerobic exercise is to build muscle strength and power, while anaerobic is to build endurance.

Oxygen Requirements

Anaerobic exercises are done primarily without the need for much oxygen. They can be performed in the absence of oxygen within the body, while, aerobic exercises require high amounts of oxygen to perform. Aerobic exercises use up available glycogen sources within the body while anaerobic exercises take from other stores within the body. Both exercises involve the break up of muscle fiber and the subsequent repair, but anaerobic activity tends to have a larger build up of lactic acid leading to more soreness and the need for greater recovery time.

Healthiest Way to Train

Exercise should be a regular part of everyone’s life. Exercising, whether it is anaerobic or aerobic, requires the exertion of energy, the building of muscle and makes one’s body stronger and healthier. Both forms of exercise involve the breakdown of muscle tissue leading to repair building muscle, but anaerobic targets building strength and power through the increase of muscle mass. Aerobic exercise builds endurance muscles instead of the build up of muscle mass and calls upon immediate energy within the body instead of requiring stored energy. Aerobic exercise requires a high concentration of oxygen while anaerobic requires very little.

Summary

  • Anaerobic exercise requires fast twitch muscles
  • Aerobic exercise requires slow twitch muscles
  • Anaerobic exercise uses short bursts of energy
  • Aerobic exercise uses longer sustained amounts of energy

Anaerobic and Aerobic Exercise Video

Which type of exercize builds less muscle mass?
  • Anaerobic
  • Aerobic Exercise
 
 

Discuss It: comments 1

  • Guest
  • Physical Therapy Supplies wrote on January 2012

Anaerobic exercises are done primarily without the need for much oxygen. They can be performed in the absence of oxygen within the body, while, aerobic exercises require high amounts of oxygen to perform. Anaerobic exercises use short bursts of high-intensity energy, while aerobic exercises use slower, less intense energy but sustained over a longer period of time. Thanks a lot.

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