Aerobic and Anaerobic Exercise


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“With the exception of nutrition, more fallacies exist in the area of exercise than in any other area of health” (Dintiman, Stone, Pennington, & Davis, 1984). Exercise produces significant physical and mental benefits and is extremely vital to life. It substantially improves stamina, strengthens and tones muscles, helps prevent diseases, enhances flexibility, controls weight, and prolongs the quality of life. In order to gain all the benefits from exercise and be truly healthy, it is very important to understand and take action with both types of exercise: anaerobic and aerobic. With the combination of aerobic and anaerobic exercise, an individual will greatly increase their overall health and wellness significantly.
Aerobic exercise involves improving the cardiovascular system. It increases the efficiency with which the body is able to utilize oxygen (Dintiman, Stone, Pennington, & Davis, 1984). In other words, aerobic exercise means that continuous and large amounts of oxygen are needed to get in order to generate the amount of energy needed to complete the workout. The most common type of aerobic exercise is long-distance running, or jogging. While running, the body requires large amounts of energy in order for the body to sustain energy. “During prolonged exercise, most of the energy is aerobic, derived from the oxidation of carbohydrates and fats” (Getchell, 1976).
Aerobic exercise is a type of exercise that increases the heart rate and speeds up breathing for a continuous period. This sustained raise overloads the heart and lungs and causes them to work harder than at rest. Therefore, with weight loss aerobic activity is generally suggested far more than anaerobic activity. “Cardio-respiratory endurance, or aerobic, activities, such as walking, jogging, running, swimming, and bicycling, are the most useful for losing weight because they eventually burn more calories than do muscle-strengthening exercises, such as weight training or calisthenics” (Fine, & Kusinitz, 1995).
However, by combining both aerobic and anaerobic exercises, weight loss and overall body composition can significantly increase. Aerobic exercise burns fat in the duration of exercise, although it has little effect afterwards. Intense anaerobic exercise increases the metabolism hours after exercise.
A direct relationship between aerobic and anaerobic exercise is seen within the sport of track. According to Webster’s dictionary aerobic simply means with oxygen, and anaerobic means without oxygen.

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Therefore, distance runners have a much higher aerobic capacity than do sprinters because their lungs and heart require more oxygen. Sprinters generally spend more time running sudden, short bursts, so not much oxygen is needed. Distance runners run primarily for a long sustained period of time, so more oxygen is needed. “However during the early stages of exercise and during short bouts of exercise the energy is anaerobic, derived from the splitting of energy-rich substances stored within the muscle cell without oxygen” (Getchell, 1976).


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