Aerobic vs Anaerobic exercise

Aerobic exercise and fitness can be contrasted with anaerobic exercise, in which strength training and short-distance running are the most common features.

The two types of exercise differ by the duration and intensity of muscular contractions involved, as well as by how energy is generated within the muscle.

The two types of exercise differ by the duration and intensity of muscular contractions involved, as well as by how energy is generated within the muscle.

Both aerobic and anaerobic exercise promote the secretion of myokines, with attendant benefits including growth of new tissue, tissue repair, and various anti-inflammatory functions, which in turn reduce the risk of developing various inflammatory diseases.

Myokine secretion in turn is dependent on the amount of muscle contracted, and the duration and intensity of contraction. 

As such, both types of exercise produce endocrine benefits.

Myokine release is dependent on the amount of muscle contracted, and the duration and intensity of contraction.

Heart rate targeted aerobic exercise training is associated with significant decrease in waist circumference, systolic, diastolic, and mean blood pressure and heart rate.

Both types of exercise produce endocrine benefits.

When the aerobic system’s capacity is exceeded the less efficient anaerobic metabolism is supplemental due to energy demands.

Aerobic exercise is designed to be low-intensity, not to generate lactate via pyruvate fermentation, so that all carbohydrate is aerobically turned into energy.

With the onset of activity, as the intensity of the exercise increases, there is a shift in substrate preference from fats to carbohydrates. 


During high intensity aerobic exercise, almost 100% of the energy is derived from carbohydrates, if an adequate supply is available.


Compared to resistance training, aerobic training results  in a significantly more pronounced reduction of body weight by enhancing the cardiovascular system which is what is the principal factor in metabolic utilization of fat substrates. 

Aerobic physical activity has three components: intensity, frequency, and duration.

Aerobic exercise tends to improve the body’s ability to use oxygen by decreasing the heart rate and blood pressure. 

Intensity describes how hard a person works to do the activity.

Intensity is studied at a moderate and vigorous levels.

Frequency related to how often a person does aerobic activity, and duration describes how long a person does an activity in any one session.

Moderate activity is equivalent to brisk walking, and vigorous activity is equivalent in effort of running or jogging.

Aerobic activity is also called endurance or cardio activity is the large muscle movement in a rhythmic pattern for a sustained period.

Aerobic activity causes the heart rate to increase in breathing to become more labored.

The intensity of aerobic activity is tracked into ways: absolute intensity and relative intensity.

Absolute intensity is the amount of energy expended during the activity, without considering the patient’s cardiorespiratory fitness or aerobic capacity.

Absolutely intensity is expressed in metabolic equivalent of task ( MET) units.

The level of aerobic fitness of an individual does not have any correlation with the level of resting metabolism. 

1MET is equivalent to the resting metabolic rate with the energy expenditure while awake and sitting quietly

Moderate intensity activities have MET value of 3-5.9 METS, vigorous intensity activities have a value of six or greater.

Initially during increased exertion, muscle glycogen is broken down to produce glucose, which undergoes glycolysis producing pyruvate which then reacts with oxygen via the Krebs cycle, to produce carbon dioxide and water and releases energy.

When there is a shortage of oxygen as with anaerobic exercise or explosive movements carbohydrate is consumed more rapidly because the pyruvate ferments into lactate.

If exercise exceeds the rate with which the cardiovascular system can supply muscles with oxygen, it results in buildup of lactate.

Lactate buildup causes a burning sensation in the muscles, and may include nausea and vomiting if the exercise is continued without allowing lactate to clear from the bloodstream.

As glycogen levels in the muscle begin to fall, glucose is released into the bloodstream by the liver, and fat metabolism is increased so that it can fuel the aerobic pathways.

Aerobic exercise may be fueled by glycogen reserves, fat reserves, or a combination of both.

Prolonged moderate-level aerobic exercise at 65% VO2 max (the heart rate of 150 bpm for a 30-year-old human) results in the maximum contribution of fat to the total energy expenditure.

With prolonged moderate-level aerobic exercise at 65% VO2 max fat may contribute 40% to 60% of total energy expenditure, depending on the duration of the exercise.

Vigorous exercise above 75% VO2max (160 bpm) primarily burns glycogen.

Major muscles in a rested human contain enough energy for about 2 hours of vigorous exercise.

Exhaustion of glycogen is a major cause of “hitting the wall” phenomena.

Training, engaging in lower intensity levels, and carbohydrate loading may allow postponement of the onset of exhaustion.

Aerobic exercise comprises a moderate level of intensity over a relatively long period of time.

It is most common for aerobic exercises to involve the leg muscles.

Rowing to distances of 2,000 m or more is an aerobic sport that exercises several major muscle groups.

Regular aerobic exercise: strengthens muscles involved in respiration, facilitates the flow of air in and out of the lungs, strengthens and enlarges the heart muscle, reduces the resting heart rate, improves circulation efficiency and reduces blood pressure, increases number of red blood cells , and facilitates transport of oxygen, improves mental health, reduces stress and reduces incidence of depression, increases cognitive capacity, and reduces the risk for diabetes.

Aerobic exercise can reduce the risk of death due to cardiovascular problems.

High-impact aerobic activities can stimulate bone growth.

High-impact aerobic activities reduces the risk of osteoporosis for both men and women.

Aerobic activities increases storage of energy molecules such as fats and carbohydrates within the muscles permitting increased endurance.

Aerobic exercise reduces anxiety, and improves mood and fatigue.

Promotes neovascularization of muscle sarcomeres to increase blood flow through the muscles.

Improves the ability of muscles to use fats during exercise.

Preserves intramuscular glycogen.

Enhances the speed at which muscles recover from high intensity exercise.

Effective for fat loss when used consistently.

Aerobic workouts rely mostly on fat as a source of energy, while and aerobic activity relies on carbohydrates

Aerobic capacity describes the functional capacity of the cardiorespiratory system, and is defined as the maximum amount of oxygen the body can use during a specified period of intense exercise.

Aerobic capacity is a function both of cardiorespiratory performance and the maximum ability to remove and utilize oxygen.

To measure maximal aerobic capacity a VO2 max test is performed with progressively more strenuous exercise on a treadmill till exhaustion.

VO2 max testing requires that a patient is connected to a respirometer to measure oxygen consumption, and the speed of the treadmill is increased incrementally over a fixed duration of time.

As the measured cardiorespiratory endurance level increases, the greater the amount of oxygen that has been transported to and used by exercising muscles.

The higher the level of intensity at which an individual can exercise reflects the higher the aerobic capacity, and the greater level of aerobic fitness.

The degree to which aerobic capacity can be improved by exercise varies among individuals and is highly heritable.

Exercise training in the average person average increases VO2 max by approximately 17%.

Some individuals are high responders to aerobic fitness exercise, and some are low responders, and approximately10% of otherwise healthy individuals cannot improve their aerobic capacity.

Aerobic capacity, as an indicator of physical fitness and function, decreases 10-33% over a 12 week period of chemotherapy for breast and other cancers (Winter-Stone KM).

Almost 1/3 of breast cancer survivors have aerobic capacity below the minimum physiologic threshold needed for functional independence.

Consistent daily aerobic exercise may induce improvements in certain cognitive functions, neuroplasticity and behavioral plasticity.

Aerobic exercise induces transient effects on cognition after a single exercise session and persistent effects on cognition following consistent exercise over the course of several months.

People who regularly perform an aerobic exercises of running, jogging, brisk walking, swimming, and cycling, have greater scores on neuropsychological function and performance tests measuring certain cognitive function, such as attentional control, inhibitory control, cognitive flexibility, working memory, declarative memory, spatial memory, and information processing speed.

Aerobic exercise increases the production of neurotrophic factors that promote growth or survival of neurons, such as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF).

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