Movement, in general, is excellent for your overall well-being. But different types of movements will offer different benefits. Case in point: Aerobic and anaerobic exercises are the antithesis of each other yet can yield incredible results separately or together. From PVL’s point of view, implementing both throughout the week – even during the same training session – could significantly boost athleticism, aesthetics, and general health.
Here, we’ll go over the differences between aerobic and anaerobic exercises, how each can benefit the body, and examples of efficient aerobic and anaerobic exercises that can whip your physique into incredible shape.
Aerobic Exercises & Benefits
Aerobic means “with oxygen,” so aerobic exercises are fueled by the oxygen coming in from the air you breathe. This typically means long-form movements like walking, running, cycling, swimming, jumping rope, etc. These movements primarily utilize your cardiovascular system, taxing your heart and lungs and training them to have a higher capacity. In short, this means increased endurance or the ability to do something for significant periods. Aerobic exercises aren’t 100 percent oxygen-based. Glucose also fuels these workouts, but oxygen drives most energy output. The intensity can vary, from a brisk walk to all-out cycling.
Again, aerobic or cardiovascular training affects endurance, lung capacity, heart health, and overall well-being. These benefits are vital for many athletes and human beings as a whole. Here’s a list of the most common aerobic exercises:
- Brisk walking
- Running (NOT sprinting, which would be anaerobic — more on that below)
- Jumping rope
Anaerobic Exercises & Benefits
If aerobic exercises are done with oxygen as the fuel, it stands to reason that anaerobic movements use a different energy source. This energy comes from the muscles in the form of glucose. Using your muscles as the primary fuel source will distinctly deplete your body. When muscles lose that energy, soreness comes in as the body tries to repair and replenish the muscle fibers. Put another way, the muscles return stronger and more efficient each time you do effective anaerobic exercises.
The pros of anaerobic exercise are muscle mass and strength gains. Activities like weightlifting, sprints, isometrics, plyometrics, and intervals require massive amounts of glucose to fuel the workout.
Increasing hypertrophy (muscle growth) is desirable for many athletic endeavors and longevity. The stronger a person is, the more resilient they are to certain aging factors, including a spike in testosterone due to consistent muscle usage. When the body adapts to anaerobic training, it’ll naturally increase testosterone and other internal chemicals to equip it for strenuous activities. Here are some common anaerobic movements:
- Traditional weightlifting
- Hypertrophic calisthenics
- Sprints (NOT long-distance, steady-state running, which is aerobic)
- Interval workouts (HIIT, Tabata, etc.)
How to Get the Best of Both Worlds
With aerobic and anaerobic training, improvements can be made in terms of time, output, volume, or intensity. So long as you progress in your chosen method of aerobic and anaerobic movements, you should see results from both.
Another thing is fuel. Proper nutrition will give your body the right protein synthesis and glycogen for these workouts. High-quality carbohydrate sources – some starches, vegetables, and grains – will help prepare the body for a run or sprint. Decent protein intake ensures muscle retention and growth during aerobic and anaerobic training.
Lastly, get both into your weekly routine to maximize your physical output and become a well-rounded individual ready to take on any challenge (or challenger). So long as you do both aerobic and anaerobic exercises and continue to get better at both, you’ll be an unstoppable force.
Article by Terry Ramos