Aerobic vs Anaerobic Exercise: Which is More Beneficial?

Aerobic vs Anaerobic Exercise

Physical activity can be in the form of aerobic or anaerobic exercise. But, what is the difference between the two? Which one should I opt for? What are the benefits of both forms of exercise? What will help me lose weight faster?

I am sure you are here with a lot of questions. This article will answer all your queries. So, let’s find out.

What is Aerobic Exercise?

Aerobic exercise utilizes oxygen for the release of energy. During aerobic exercise, there is a constant supply of oxygen that further breaks down fats and glucose. 

The heart and lungs continuously work hard to keep up with the energy required which in turn raises the heart rate. Aerobic exercise can be sustained for a longer duration. 

Common aerobic exercises include

  • Cycling
  • Brisk Walk
  • Dancing
  • Hiking
  • Jogging
  • Swimming
  • Stair Climbing

What is Anaerobic Exercise?

As the name suggests anaerobic exercise does not require oxygen to release energy. It relies on the energy released from the breakdown of sugar in the muscles. It can be sustained only for a shorter duration as it produces lactic acid that causes fatigue.

Common anaerobic exercises are:

  • Sprinting 
  • High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
  • Weight lifting 
  • Body-weight exercises

Difference between Aerobic and Anaerobic exercise? 

The main difference between aerobic and anaerobic exercise remains in the utilization of oxygen.

Other differences are in:

  • Source of energy
  • Duration of exercise
  • Intensity of exercise

Aerobic exercise is less intense that can be sustained for a longer duration and uses oxygen to burn fat and glucose.

On the other hand, Anaerobic exercise is more intense which can be performed for a shorter duration and uses energy from muscle.

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    Benefits of Aerobic Exercise 

    Aerobic exercise particularly aids in improving cardiovascular health given the high heart rate during the activity. It also helps in improving the lipid profile and mood. Consistent exercise can decrease the risk of

    • Cancer 
    • Hypertension
    • Diabetes
    • Osteoporosis
    • Stroke

    Benefits of Anaerobic exercise

    Anaerobic exercise also helps in improving cardiovascular health, but the main benefit remains the increase in muscle mass. Performing weight lifting or any kind of anaerobic exercise trains the muscles and increases muscle mass and strength.

    It is also good for:

    Which one is better for fat loss?

    Any sort of physical activity will help you in losing weight. Now that you know the basic difference between aerobic and anaerobic exercise, let’s see how much weight you can lose while doing the exercise!

    Both kinds of exercise improve cardiovascular health and boost metabolism which ultimately leads to weight loss.

    In comparison, aerobic exercise takes longer to burn fat as compared to anaerobic exercise. So given the number of calories burnt, anaerobic exercise is the winner.

    But wait, there is more to it. 

    You cannot just start high-intensity workouts before adapting to routine cardio. Developing stamina is the prerequisite of getting into weight lifting or any kind of intense workout.

    So, if you are looking for exercises to lose weight, anaerobic exercise is going to give you results in a fraction of the time as compared to activities like walking or cycling. But to get into the mode, you need to start slow. Start with a regular brisk walk or cycling for some time every day. Slowly, start incorporating anaerobic exercises like weight lifting or body-weight exercises like push-ups or squats. 

    The best way to be fit or to lose weight is to have a mix of both. You can go cycling, swimming or dancing 2 days a week and do weight training or other forms of anaerobic exercise on other days. Or you can also interchange the exercises in a gym. Seeking professional help will serve you the best.

    If you want to stick to home workouts, try sticking to aerobic exercises and include some kind of anaerobic exercise along with it. 


    The American guidelines suggest that an adult should adhere to 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity or 75-150 minutes of intense physical activity. One should also do muscle-strengthening exercises 2 or more than 2 days a week. Recommendations vary for people with health conditions or in pregnancy. Consider talking to an expert in this situation. 

    Guidelines suggest any kind of physical activity is beneficial and one should include exercise in day-to-day life.  

    Bottom line

    Losing weight comes from an aggregate of a lot of effort and hard work. If you are confused about which workout to start with, begin with any form of cardio exercise and slowly go towards toning and strengthening exercises. 

    Consistent workouts and a proper diet will help you attain the set goal. Not only does it help lose weight, but is crucial for staying fit and healthy. 

    Aerobic and anaerobic exercises are mandatory to keep your cardiovascular health in check. Taking out time today will give you amazing results in the long run.

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