Aerobic vs. Anaerobic Exercise: What’s the Best Choice for You?

Aerobic vs. Anaerobic Exercise: What’s the Best Choice for You?

Posted by Sydney Bollinger on

There are benefits to both aerobic and anaerobic exercise but one may be better suited to your wellness and fitness goals. Find out which type of workout is best for you in our guide.

Aerobic exercise is often synonymous with cardiovascular exercise where anaerobic exercise happens in quick bursts at maximum effort. Each type of workout has different results, and we review those results here.

When you start working out, you will hear talk of both aerobic and anaerobic exercise. Each of these types of exercise will benefit your long-term health, but one may be better suited to your wellness and fitness goals

Oxygen use is integral to understanding both aerobic and anaerobic exercise. Aerobic exercise uses oxygen, allowing you to stay active for a longer period of time. When you think of anaerobic exercise, think about exercising in short bursts of high-intensity movement. 

This article will explain the difference between aerobic and anaerobic exercise and help you determine which type of exercise is the best choice for you. 

What is aerobic exercise? 

Aerobic exercise is often synonymous with cardiovascular exercise. Choosing aerobic exercise means that you are working out for a sustained period of time. This type of physical activity will help you build endurance, thus increasing your lung capacity and improving your blood pressure and heart rate over time. 

Many aerobic exercises can be done at home and without specialized equipment. A brisk walk for about thirty minutes is considered aerobic exercise. 

Other aerobic exercises you might consider are jogging, cycling, swimming, and jump rope. Remember that your goal during this type of exercise should be to sustain your effort over a longer period. If you are running out of breath too quickly or are unable to maintain a conversation during your workout, then you are pushing too hard. 

What is anaerobic exercise? 

In contrast, anaerobic exercise happens in quick bursts at maximum effort. This is an important difference, because anaerobic exercise isn’t meant to be sustained for a long period of time. With anaerobic exercise, you are using the glucose in your muscles as a form of energy.

Anaerobic exercise includes high-intensity interval training, circuit training, weight lifting, and other forms of strength- and resistance- training. 

These types of activities sometimes require specialized equipment and can be much more difficult. If you choose to pursue weight lifting, in particular, it’s important to identify a workout buddy who can assist by spotting you and ensuring your form is correct. 

This type of exercise is best for anyone who wants to lower their risk of cardiovascular disease and improve their overall endurance. 

Know Your Fitness Goals 

Knowing your health and fitness goals will help you determine if aerobic or anaerobic exercise is best for you. Your long-term goals determine how you should approach exercise. Additionally, you will want to consider any health conditions or injuries that may prevent you from participating in certain activities. 

Aerobic and anaerobic exercise have different benefits. 

Aerobic exercise is typically associated with better heart health and fat loss. Since cardiovascular exercise pulls from fat cells, you are more likely to burn fat, leading to faster fat loss. Aerobic exercise should also be your primary choice if you are training for something like a marathon or long-distance cycling event since you will need to build up your endurance to compete in those events. 

Anaerobic exercise focuses on increasing strength and speed. Anaerobic exercise is a great choice for anyone looking to tone or sculpt their body. Increasing muscle mass increases your overall metabolism, which will help you burn more calories. 

When developing your fitness plan, thoughtfully consider how you should use aerobic and anaerobic exercise to meet your goals. 

Building a Balanced Fitness Routine with Aerobic and Anaerobic Exercise 

The best type of fitness routine is balanced. 

Aerobic and anaerobic exercise are not opposites and they should not be treated as such. Most people benefit from a mix of aerobic and anaerobic activities in their workout routine since the benefits of both build on each other. 

For example, most endurance athletes supplement their aerobic training with anaerobic training to strengthen their muscles and improve their speed. Many runners incorporate weekly speed workouts into their routine; the anaerobic workout benefits their speed when competing in a race. 

The same is true for weight lifters and bodybuilders. Incorporating aerobic activity helps condition the body, building endurance so you can work out longer. 

If you are pursuing weight loss or body recomposition, then incorporating both will allow you to maximize the benefits of aerobic and anaerobic exercise. Building muscle and toning shapes your body, and doing cardio will increase your fat-burning capacity. 

Neither of these forms of exercise is better than the other. Both have a role in your holistic health and fitness. What’s important is figuring out how to tailor your workouts to your current fitness level and long-term health goals. 

Tracking Your Fitness Progress with ZOZOFIT

After you determine whether aerobic or anaerobic exercises are better for your fitness routine, you can use ZOZOFIT’s 3D body scanning technology to see the benefits of the work you put in. 

The ZOZOFIT app will scan your body and provide you with instant accurate body measurements. You can even compare multiple scans to look at how your shape has changed through your workouts over time.

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