Aerobic vs Anaerobic Exercises

Obesity is a growing concern worldwide, and many are turning to diet plans and exercise routines to address the issue. Two common types of exercises are aerobic and anaerobic, each with unique benefits and differences. In this article, we will explore the definitions, types, differences, benefits, and risks of aerobic vs anaerobic exercises to help you make informed choices and achieve your fitness goals.

What are Aerobic exercises?

Aerobic exercises are activities that require your body to have a sufficient supply of oxygen. When your muscles use oxygen to generate energy for the activity, your heart beats faster than normal, and you start breathing more rapidly.

For example, jogging, running, swimming, and cycling all require oxygen to produce the energy necessary for the exercise. These types of exercises are called aerobic exercises. During aerobic exercises, your muscles move in a coordinated pattern for a specific period, which causes your heart rate to increase and your breathing to become deeper.

What are Anaerobic Exercises?

Anaerobic exercises are physical activities that require an intense and sudden burst of movement without enough oxygen to perform the whole activity. For instance, weightlifting, sprinting, and high-intensity interval training all require a sudden burst of intense physical effort.

Because these exercises demand a sudden burst of energy, your body’s muscles don’t have enough time to fulfill their oxygen demand by increasing your heartbeat or breath rate. Hence, both of these exercises are also known as anaerobic exercises.

Types of aerobic exercises (and how to do them)

Many gym trainers and fitness experts suggest that applying both aerobic and anaerobic exercises in a balanced way can lead to better results. If you’re starting with aerobic exercises, here are some of the most common and helpful ones that can help you set your pace:


Lie down on a straight floor in the plank position with your face towards the bottom. Keep a balanced distance between both feet and place your hands directly under your shoulders. Start lowering your body until your chest starts touching the floor. Then, press the floor with your hands and come back to the original position. Repeat this at least ten times at the beginning.


Hang yourself from a horizontal bar or use a pull-up machine. Move your body upwards until your chin surpasses the bar you’re holding onto, then come back to your original position. Repeat these steps at least ten times initially.


Stand straight with your legs almost eight to ten inches apart. Start by lowering your hips and straightening your back, lifting your chest at the same time. Try to align your knees with your feet. The ultimate pose should be like you’re trying to sit on a chair. Once you go as low as possible, return to your original position. Repeat this ten times.


Stand with your feet almost five inches apart, keeping your arms at your side. Step forward with your left foot and bend down to make a right angle. Your right foot should be touching the floor. Return to the original position and repeat the steps ten times. You can start your aerobic exercises routine with these four workouts. Try to have no rest in between them to gain maximum endurance.

Types of anaerobic exercises (and how to do them)

As we already mentioned, it is better to pair up both aerobic and anaerobic exercises to get better results. For that, you need to know some of the elementary anaerobic exercises that you can begin with. When it comes to aerobic vs anaerobic exercise, the basic formula used by many gym experts says that it is better to follow both types with a ratio of 2:1. So, if you are doing aerobic exercise for two days, you can try the anaerobic exercise on the third day. This strategy will help you gain both endurance and strength.

To begin with, you can start with High-Intensity Interval Training or HIIT. Here are a few steps that you can follow for anaerobic workouts.


Rowing is like plowing in crops with more twisted torsos. To start, place your foot in front of you. Sit with legs extending out of your body. You can do this on a rowing machine. Another substitute for a rowing machine is to tuck your legs in a bar vertically placed on the floor. This step will provide support to your legs. Now pull your arms and slide a bit forward. You can repeat the steps for 30 seconds if this is your single move and give a break of ninety seconds. If you are doing great moves to complete your workout, you can start with six rounds.


Burpees include three basic steps: squat, push-up, and jump. Start by sitting in a squat position and immediately change your pose to push up. Then come back to the squat posture and finally stand straight to jump on toes. You can make this move for 30 seconds if you only do this workout and rest for one and a half minutes. If you have coupled another activity like rowing with this, you can make this move a maximum of eight times.

Kettlebell Swings

This looks easy as compared to other anaerobic workouts. Stand straight with feet, hips apart. Take out the heaviest weight ball you can work with. Hold it in your hands and in between your legs. Start by bending down to pick up the ball. You will feel like your hips have dropped down, and your knees bent. Now take the kettlebell up as your shoulder in a swinging way and keep your body back in a standing pose. Repeat the steps for 30 seconds with 90 seconds rest at last.

What are the differences between aerobic and anaerobic exercises? 

As mentioned earlier, for best results it’s recommended to combine both aerobic and anaerobic exercises. However, it’s important to understand the differences between the two types of workouts. So, here are some key differences to keep in mind:

Energy Usage

During aerobic exercise, your body demands more oxygen to create energy. As you breathe faster, your body converts the oxygen into energy. Anaerobic exercise, on the other hand, doesn’t allow for enough time to breathe and utilize oxygen. Instead, it uses stored oxygen to meet the body’s energy demands, which leads to the build-up of lactic acid in the muscles.

Length of Exercise

Aerobic exercises can typically be performed for longer periods of time, but it’s important to gradually increase the duration of your workout. Anaerobic exercises, on the other hand, are highly intensive and it’s not recommended to increase the workout time beyond a certain limit.

Exercise Intensity

While aerobic exercises can be less intense, they allow for a gradual increase in stamina over time. Anaerobic exercises, on the other hand, are more intense and demanding, regardless of your stamina levels.

Aim of Exercise

The primary goal of aerobic exercises is to build endurance and stability. As you gradually increase your workout time, you’ll improve your overall fitness level. Anaerobic exercises, on the other hand, are focused on building strength and muscle mass. If you’re looking to sculpt your muscles and build a more muscular physique, anaerobic exercise is the way to go.

Benefits of Aerobic Exercises

What are the benefits and risks involved in Aerobic and Anaerobic exercises? 

If we compare aerobic vs. Anaerobic exercises, we need to compare the pros and cons of both. So let’s begin with the pros or benefits of both activities.

  • Aerobic exercises help you stay away from lethal diseases like a heart attacks or stroke. So it helps you maintain a healthy lifestyle with its steady and coordinated workouts.
  • Aerobic exercises are generally better for weight loss even though the pace is slower vs anaerobic exercise.
  • It helps you control sugar levels in your bloodstream.
  • It maintains and controls your blood pressure, reducing the chances of heart-related diseases.
  • It enables you to gain endurance and increases your stamina. You can also perform intensive workouts easily.
  • It lowers or allows you to overcome fatigue during exercise.
  • It improves and boost your immunity system, which makes you less susceptible to illness like flu or colds.
  • It increases your lifespan by keeping you active and healthy. So you live more than those who do not exercise regularly and live a sedentary life.

Benefits of anaerobic exercises

  • It is one of the rigorous exercises that help you gain more muscle mass.
  • The workouts help you overcome new challenges and break the exercise plateau with its intensity.
  • This type of workout is ideal for gaining body strength and toning muscles.
  • You start to feel like your bones have become more robust due to this intense exercise. It happens as your body performs HIIT and engages bones and muscles.
  • Though short-lived, anaerobic exercises such as HIIT burn calories faster than aerobic exercise, though it’s short-lived. Even when you are done with HIIT, and you are resting, your body will still be burning calories in that resting state. That state is called Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption or EPOC.
  • It increases stamina so that you can perform your daily activities without getting tired. Thus, you’ll feel more energetic and active.

Risks of aerobic exercise

Aerobic exercises are generally safe and do not pose any lethal risks. However, if you have any chronic condition such as heart disease or have had major surgery, it is crucial to consult with your doctor before starting an aerobic exercise routine. Neglecting to do so could result in serious consequences.

Furthermore, if you are new to exercising or have been inactive for a long period, it is recommended that you begin with a modest exercise routine for a shorter duration. Gradually increasing the intensity and duration of your workout as your body adjusts will help prevent injury and ensure that you see progress without any setbacks.

Risk of anaerobic exercises

Anaerobic exercises can pose some risks, especially if you have a chronic health condition. It is recommended to avoid this workout if you have any serious underlying health issues until you have spoken to a medical professional. If you are a beginner, you can start under the supervision and guidance of an expert to minimize the chances of any injury. Additionally, it is crucial to perform proper warm-up exercises and use appropriate equipment to prevent any potential harm during the workout. Good form and technique are key when dealing with strenuous activity.

Comparing Aerobic vs Anaerobic Exercises for Weight Loss 

Nowadays, people exercise for different reasons, such as losing weight, shaping their muscles, or targeting specific areas of their bodies. Some people simply want to maintain good health without losing or gaining weight. When it comes to weight loss, both aerobic and anaerobic exercises are commonly performed. But which type of exercise is better for weight loss, and why?

While aerobic exercise has been a popular choice for weight loss for years, anaerobic exercises often show better and more noticeable results. During aerobic exercise, your body works out at a steady and rhythmic rate, allowing you to gain an extra oxygen supply that can be burnt for energy. This slower pace results in slower weight loss. In contrast, anaerobic exercises require sudden and intense bursts of physical activity, which demand a higher energy level than aerobic exercises. Since there is no optimum oxygen supply, your body starts burning stored fat to produce the power needed to cope with the demand. This intense workout leads to the ultimate burning of stored body fat, resulting in faster weight loss than aerobic exercises.

There are several other reasons why anaerobic exercises are a better choice for weight loss:

  • You can burn more calories in less time with anaerobic exercises than with steady-rate aerobic workouts.
  • You can save time by doing intense workouts in a shorter period than the time taken by aerobic exercises.
  • Anaerobic exercises help you gain more muscular build-up than aerobic exercises.

However, it’s important to note that both types of exercises have their own benefits and drawbacks. For example, high intensity training requires a lot more motivation and may leave you feeling nauseous when you’re just getting into shape. On the other hand, learning to walk on a treadmill for 5 miles is much more achievable to build up fitness levels. It’s best to consult with a fitness expert to get a tailored exercise routine for your needs, especially if you have any health conditions. Also because nutrition and diet choices play a key role in weight loss as well.


Indeed, exercise plays a crucial role in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Along with that, your dieting plan also matters a lot as it provides your essential nutrients. A healthy diet makes your body strong enough to perform a heavy workout.

Before performing any workout, it is mandatory to understand your goal. This way, you can get better results in less time. Hopefully you now understand the fundamental difference between aerobic vs anaerobic exercises. So, you can decide your goal, pick up some essential fitness equipment, and start performing to get better results with these exercises.

Related read: Should I buy a treadmill or join a gym?

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