What's the difference between aerobic and anaerobic exercise?

Aerobic exercise includes rhythmic activities that use a lot of oxygen and large muscles over a period of time, such as jogging, swimming and riding a bike. Anaerobic exercise, on the other hand, does not use oxygen to generate energy. The exercises include intense, short bursts of activity that make the muscles work hard, such as sprinting and lifting weights.
Dr. Andrea Pennington, MD
Integrative Medicine
Aerobic means "requiring oxygen." Aerobic metabolism occurs during low-intensity, long-duration exercises. One example would be jogging. Anaerobic means "without oxygen." Anaerobic metabolism in muscle tissue occurs during intense physical activities like sprinting or weight lifting.
Aerobic exercise is exercise that requires oxygen to full the work due to the length of activity. Generally speaking any activities greater than 60 seconds in duration require oxygen to continue to burn carbohydrates or fat as fuel source. Anaerobic exercise would be any activities that do not require oxygen to continue to use fuel sources because they are short in duration generally less than 60 seconds. Examples of aerobic exercise would be jogging, running a marathon, or hiking. Examples of anaerobic exercise would include weight lifting, throwing a baseball, or a 100 meter sprint.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.