What does aerobic exercises mean? What about anaerobic exercises?

March 13, 2009

Exercise & Fitness

Aerobic exercise refers to exercise that involves or improves oxygen consumption by the body. Aerobic means "with oxygen", and refers to the use of oxygen in the body’s metabolic or energy-generating process.

Many types of exercise are aerobic, and by definition are performed at moderate levels of intensity for extended periods of time. To obtain the best results, an aerobic exercise session involves a warming up period, followed by at least 20 minutes of moderate to intense exercise involving large muscle groups, and a cooling down period at the end.

In the aerobic exercise category are included physical activities that solicit the big muscular groups like walking faster than normal, jogging, cycling, swimming, rowing. All the previous physical activities produce adaptive modifications to the respiratory and circulatory system, but also at the level of the different metabolic pathways. The cardio workout improves the functioning and the capacity of the circulatory and respiratory systems, increases the blood flow, increases the capacity of muscles to generate energy thru an aerobic way and the metabolization of fat.

So aerobic exercise includes lower intensity activities performed for longer periods of time. Such activities like walking, running, swimming, and cycling require a great deal of oxygen to generate the energy needed for prolonged exercise.

Anaerobic exercise is exercise intense enough to trigger anaerobic metabolism. It is used by athletes in non-endurance sports to build power and by body builders to build muscle mass. Muscles trained under anaerobic conditions develop differently, leading to greater performance in short duration, high intensity activities, which last up to about 2 minutes.


There are two types of anaerobic energy systems, the ATP-CP energy system, which uses creatine phosphate as the main energy source, and the lactic acid (or anaerobic glycolysis) system that uses glucose (or glycogen) in the absence of oxygen. Events or activity that last up to about thirty seconds rely primarily on the former, phosphagen, system. Beyond this time aerobic and anaerobic glycolysis begin to predominate. Anaerobic glycolysis uses glucose inefficiently, and produces by-products such as lactic acid that are thought to be detrimental to muscle function; this limits activity based predominantly on anaerobic glycolysis to about 2 minutes. The effectiveness of anaerobic activity can be improved through training.

What type of workout is recommended for weight loss

If you wish to lose weight you have to follow a cardio workout, which helps you shed your fat deposits. Also you have to listen to the advice your personal trainer tells you. The cardio effect is generated using the bicycle, the stepper, the tread mill and so on. You should start with a 30 minute cardio once every two days and then increase little by little the time dedicated to this kind of physical workout. You can even reach 1 hour of running on the tread mill. Also to increase the results you should consult a nutritionist for a specialized diet, low in fats and carbohydrates.


How can I strengthen my muscles

To strengthen your muscles you need to do anaerobic exercises. You need to do exercises that target every muscle system. Don’t skip any muscle group in the course of a week. Do exercises for the thighs, chest, back, shoulders, arms and stomach.

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