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Aerobic and Anaerobic Exercises: Differences and Benefits

Updated on October 10, 2015

Keeping fit and healthy

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Body building exercises help us keep fit. Exercising helps prevent diseases which are associated with inactive lifestyle. Researchers have associated the risk factors for conditions like cancer, diabetes type 2 cardiovascular diseases with obesity or overweight. Exercising ensures that the excess body calories are burned out and hence a good way of maintaining normal body weight. The elimination of toxic body wastes is greatly enhanced when we actively involve every part of our body. Their elimination through sweating and urination enhances our well being and good health. While exercising, we not only engage our bodies but also our minds. Our brains consumes the highest amount of oxygen that we breath in. During exercises, we engage the muscles of the chest region and diaphragm increasing the volume of air we take in. This therefore enhances brain performance and also controls disorders like mood swings and stress, lack of sleep or insomnia. When enough amounts of oxygen reach our brains, more brain hormones are released. They help in boosting one’s memory and fight cognitive degenerative diseases like Alzheimer. Exercising also has a positive impact on the concentration of hormones like Serotonin and endorphins which affect our moods and body immunity. Our muscles are also fully engaged during exercises. It makes the coordination of body activities good. Healthy and strong muscles reduce the risks of injuries and back pain. Our bones are also not left behind. Exercises which greatly involve our bones like running, jogging reduce the getting degenerative bone diseases like osteoarthritis and osteoporosis.

Aerobic exercises

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YOGA, A proven way of maintaining body balance

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Aerobic exercises

They depend fully on aerobic energy releasing mechanisms. Aerobic exercises include running or walking, swimming, cycling, dancing, and playing football, basketball or any other form of sport. They are usually done for a long period of time. They are usually performed at a lower intensity and thus allow the body to burn out fats. They are important for those who want to lose or maintain their body weight. As the name suggest, they increase the rate of heart beat and breathing. Increased heartbeat rate increases the rate of blood circulation while increased breathing rate enhances absorption of oxygen and removal of carbon dioxide. They are important in preventing diseases like cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases among others.
When you breathe in, your lungs take in air of a capacity of about 7 liters. This air contains oxygen (20-21%). This oxygen is absorbed through the moist alveoli wall into the blood capillaries. In the blood capillaries, this oxygen is attached to hemoglobin of the red blood cells. This oxygen reaches the heart from the lungs through pulmonary vein. From the heart, this oxygen is distributed to various body tissues including muscles. This oxygen is used during the process of respiration which involves the breakdown of food molecule e.g. fat to release energy which moves the muscles.


Balance exercises help a person maintain balance and improve mobility even at adult age. They include those that involve balancing on one foot. Old people can also be trained how to stand without involving hands. Practicing yoga is also a proven way of maintaining body balance.


Endurance exercises enhance the breathing and heart beat rate. They therefore keep the cardiovascular system healthy.


Strength exercises mainly involve your muscles and bones. They also play a positive role in burning out body fats. Such exercises include push ups which greatly involve the muscles of the chest, biceps and triceps in the upper part of the arm, Hip extension involves the movement of gluteus muscles and the hip region.

Weight lifting is a form of anaerobic exercise

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Anaerobic exercises

They are high intensity exercises which are usually done for a short time period. No oxygen is involved in anaerobic exercises. They trigger the formation of lactate. Lactate is an important precursor in gluconeogenic process. This makes anaerobic exercise important to athletes. Gluconeogenic process is important in the generation of new glucose which when burned out release energy. Lactate being a good source of about 30% of glucose used by the body inhibits the use of fat as a source of energy. Brain neurons mainly use lactate as source of energy. Lactate therefore helps prevent brain cognitive disorders like Alzheimer disease. Lactate accumulation however has some other negative effects. Diseases like diabetes type 2 and tumor.

Anaerobic exercises include bike sprinting and weight lifting. They greatly raise the rate of heart beat. It helps the sprinters e.g. in 100 meters races bounce faster and more forcefully as it strengthens the muscle fibres.

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    • Lipnancy profile image

      Nancy Yager 

      3 years ago from Hamburg, New York

      People do not realize the positive impact just a little bit of exercise can have on your health. Wonderful article.

    • Dr Pran Rangan profile image

      Dr Pran Rangan 

      3 years ago from Kanpur (UP), India

      Thanks for an informative hub.

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