Difference between aerobic and anaerobic exercises

It is a well known fact that in order to increase ones fitness levels it is essential that a regular exercise routine is carried out but what type of exercises should be carried out? There are lots of articles written by fitness specialists about aerobic and anaerobic fitness programs so it is important to define exactly what  is the difference between aerobic and anaerobic exercises.

So what is the difference between aerobic and anaerobic exercises?


Exertion that is lower in exertion level and lengthier in duration is called aerobic exercise.which is done to train the muscles to be more active for increased periods of time. It is commonly referred to endurance training

Aerobic ( literally meaning ‘requiring air or oxygen’ ) is is generally known as a type of rhythmic activity aerobic exercise which is used for improving one’s fitness levels in relation to muscular strength, flexibility and cardiovascular health. This form of exercise makes the lungs work harder to produce more oxygen as energy for the body’s needs.

To be effective for one’s health the exercises should be carried out at moderate levels of intensity over a period of time in order to produce oxygen to burn up fats and sugar in ones body. Getting at least 20 minutes of sustained aerobic exercise about three times a week, together with a good nutritious diet, will generally keep a person healthy.

It is important to ensure that your heart and lungs are worked hard enough and for long enough to gain the benefits of aerobic exercise but not so long that you run the risk of injury.However you should pace yourself depending on your fitness levels starting slower at first then gradually working up the duration and frequency of the exercises.



The health benefits of aerobic and anaerobic exercises

The health benefits of aerobic and anaerobic exercises

Lower impact aerobic exercises

  • Swimming
  • Cycling
  • Using an elliptical trainer exercise machine
  • Walking
  • Rowing
  • Using equipment to provide an an upper body cardiovascular workout. (Upper Body Ergometer )

Higher impact aerobic exercise includes:

  • Running long distance at moderate speed
  • Jumping rope
  • Performing high impact routines or step aerobics



  • Increased energy levels
  • Reduced stress and improved mental health
    (due to the release of ‘feel good’ endorphins in the brain)
  • Increased heart and lung efficiency
  • Reduced blood pressure, resting heart rate and risk of stroke or heart attack.



Anaerobic (“without oxygen”) exercise is the opposite of aerobic exercise  as your body does not use oxygen to help produce energy when you exercise anaerobically like it does when you exercise aerobically. Instead the body’s muscles switch to burning mainly carbohydrates, a fuel that burns quickly and does not require oxygen.

Anaerobic exercise is usually high intensity muscular activity that lasts for short durations of time and give you the best benefits for building and toning lean muscle. This is important as the more lean muscle you have the higher your basal metabolic rate resulting in you burning more calories during the day and night.


The health benefits of aerobic and anaerobic exercises


  • Weight lifting
  • Resistance based exercises – calisthenics or exercising with your own body weight ( push-ups, pull-ups etc.)
  • Resistance band exercises
  • Sprinting at high intense level



  • Reshapes the body and improves appearance
  • Builds and maintains lean body mass
  • Increases bone strength and density
  • Helps prevent health problems
  • Reduces body fat



It is fair to say that when comparing the merits and the difference between aerobic and anaerobic exercises both forms of exercise are equally as good for one’s overall health and wellness. To derive the maximum benefits of each type of exercise you should ideally be doing both as each has its own specific advantages. If cost is a consideration you can achieve free benefits of each by simply going for a brisk walk for 30 minutes to an hour each day ( your cardio workout ) which is followed by a series of resistance based exercises. ( your strength workout )

As a proper diet combined with exercise is essential to ones wellbeing check out the following video  which will give you useful healthy eating tips to complement your exercise program.





jk1Keep fit and enjoy a happy, healthy lifestyle.

James Kelly



High Wycombe, Western Australia,6057