Most types of exercise can be categorized as either aerobic or anaerobic. Aerobic exercise involves low to moderate exertion over a sustained period of time, while anaerobic exercise involves high levels of exertion over a short period. Aerobic exercise includes activities such as jogging at a comfortable pace, swimming, and biking. Meanwhile, anaerobic exercises include activities such as sprinting and lifting weights.
Naturally, there is a debate over which type of exercise is better. Unfortunately, we don’t have an easy answer for you. There are benefits to both aerobic and anaerobic exercises, and determining which is “better” will depend on your own fitness goals.
The Benefits of Aerobic Exercise
Since aerobic exercise requires you to sustain a certain level of activity over a period of time, it’s great for strengthening your heart and lungs as well as burning calories. It doesn’t produce results as quickly or as noticeably as anaerobic exercise, but getting into the habit of jogging or biking regularly will certainly keep you happy and healthy.
The Benefits of Anaerobic Exercise
Anaerobic exercise is great if you want to build lean muscle mass. This may sound like a good short-term goal, but there are some long-term benefits to be had as well. People who have more muscle mass burn calories faster, which means they have an easier time managing their weight.
Which is Better?
As previously mentioned, neither aerobic or anaerobic exercise is “better” than the other. Both have their clear advantages, and both of them will help you burn fat and lose weight if that is your ultimate goal. If you’re more interested in improving your endurance and your cardiovascular fitness, aerobic exercise will help you do exactly that. If you want to gain some lean muscle while you burn fat, anaerobic exercise will definitely help you.
However, there is no reason why you shouldn’t incorporate both aerobic and anaerobic exercises into your workouts. Many modern exercise programs do exactly that, and the right balance of the two types of exercise yields the best results.
As always, we should remind everyone that no two people are alike. Different exercises can affect people in different ways, so speak to your doctor to find out what kind of workout – and what combination of aerobic and anaerobic exercises – will be best for you.