Aerobic vs Anaerobic Exercise: Which is better for you? 

Aerobic vs Anaerobic Exercise: Which is better for you? 

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By Mark Grevelding 

Most people understand that regular exercise is important for optimal wellness and daily function. However, few understand how the breakdown of the food we consume is converted to an energy source that supports all of the functions we do on a daily basis. Understanding energy metabolism and how food is converted to an energy source known as ATP is probably best left for exercise physiologists.  What is important to know is that you can train your body to be ready for any energy demand by including both aerobic and anaerobic workouts in your fitness routine.   

About the two kinds of exercise

Aerobic workouts typically features longer-duration workout activities, such as walking on a treadmill, riding a bike or taking a Zumba class.  This type of exercise is performed at a relatively steady state of energy output, allowing the body to produce oxygen to meet the demand of the fitness activity.  Anaerobic exercise features quick bursts of explosive movement, such as squats and lunges or other forms of strength training. This type of exercise leaves you feeling breathless because the body cannot supply oxygen fast enough to meet the demand of these short-duration fitness activities. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), which features short bursts of all-out effort, is a popular form of anaerobic exercise.  

Including both aerobic and anaerobic exercise into your regular fitness routine helps you become more efficient at handling daily energy spikes. Aerobic workouts will help improve your stamina to perform long-duration activities like gardening, house cleaning or spending the day walking around an amusement park.  Anaerobic training will prepare your body for sudden bursts of energy demand, such as climbing a flight of stairs, running from your car in a rainstorm, or chasing around a rambunctious grandchild or pet. 

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Aerobic exercise is easier to come by as it includes simple activities like walking, biking or swimming. In order to include anaerobic training into your fitness routine, consider performing in-home workouts like squats, lunges, low-impact jumping jacks or just some high-knee marches with overhead arms. Including both aerobic and anaerobic exercise in your fitness routine will ensure the healthiest version of yourself, one that is ready to take on any energy demand.  

Mark Grevelding is the founder of PoolFit, a fitness app and website that includes over 120 water fitness & in-home workouts, both aerobic and anaerobic, and suitable for older adults.