If you’ve been exercising out for any length of time, there’s a good chance you’ve heard people talk about aerobic workouts, such as jogging at a moderate pace, and anaerobic workouts, such as a run that takes you up and down hills.
What determines whether or not the activity you’re doing is aerobic or anaerobic comes down to oxygen levels. Exercise can be aerobic (with oxygen), anaerobic (without oxygen) or a combination of both.
Read more: List of Aerobic Workouts
Get Moving With Aerobic Exercise
- Reducing the risk of developing heart disease, hypertension, obesity and type 2 diabetes
- Managing chronic health condition such as high blood pressure and high blood sugar
- Strengthening your heart and keeping your arteries clear; lowering LDL cholesterol and increasing HDL cholesterol
- Warding off cognitive decline
- Increasing stamina
- Improving mood and managing certain mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety
Anaerobic Exercise Examples
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- Building strength and lean muscle mass
- Strengthening your bones
- Reversing the effects of bone loss and reducing the risk of broken bones and osteoporosis
- Increasing fat loss
- Improving cardiovascular health
- Helping to improve mood and manage certain mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety :
Combining Aerobic and Anaerobic Workouts
Lots of athletic activities and certain exercises rely on both energy systems.
Someone training for a marathon will rely primarily on the aerobic system while exercising. However, if they incorporate other methods of training during their workouts such as sprints or hill repeats, they will activate the anaerobic system (while going full force), before transitioning back to the aerobic system as soon as steady-state running resumes.
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- World Psychiatry: Physical Activity and Mental Health: Evidence Is Growing
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Physical Activity Guidelines
- Mayo Clinic: Aerobic Exercise: Top 10 Reasons to Get Physical
- World Journal of Cardiology: Aerobic vs Anaerobic Exercise Training Effects on the Cardiovascular System
- Cleveland Clinic. Aerobic Exercise.
- Metabolism. MedlinePlus.
- How Much Physical Activity Do Adults Need? Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Target Heart Rate and Estimated Maximum Heart Rate. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Milioni F, Zagatto A, Barbieri R, et al. Energy Systems Contribution in the Running-based Anaerobic Sprint Test. International Journal of Sports Medicine. 2017;38(03):226-232. doi:10.1055/s-0042-117722.
- Athletic Development; Vern Gambetta
Sara Lindberg, B.S., M.Ed., is a freelance health and fitness writer. She holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in exercise science and a Master's degree in counseling. She’s spent her life educating people on the importance of health, wellness, mindset and mental health. She specializes in the mind-body connection, with a focus on how our mental and emotional wellbeing impact our physical fitness and health.