The Difference Between Aerobic and Anaerobic Exercise

by Krystal Clark

| 2 min read

Woman exercise workout in gym fitness breaking relax holding apple fruit after training sport with dumbbell and protein shake bottle healthy lifestyle bodybuilding.
The most prominent forms of exercise are aerobic and anaerobic. Commonly referred to as cardio and resistance training, each benefits the body in their own way. Aerobic exercise is low to high-intensity movement that elevates the heart rate for a sustained amount of time. It can improve cardiovascular health, endurance and overall body conditioning. “Aerobic [activity is] usually between 60 to 70 percent of your heart rate,” explained Vince McKinnon, manager and onsite wellness coordinator at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. This can include a vigorous walk, bike ride, jog, or swim. Anaerobic exercise consists of short and powerful movements such as pushing a sled, flipping a tire, or even pulling a truck. These activities propel your heart rate into the 80 to 90 percent zone, forcing you to burn more glycogen than fat. Since it’s at a higher intensity, it causes the body to switch gears. On the latest episode of A Healthier Michigan Podcast, hosted by Chuck Gaidica, McKinnon reveals how to use aerobic and anaerobic exercises to get your heart pumping and burn more calories. [podcast_player] Do you know your maximum heart rate? It’s a number that reflects how fast your heart should beat during a specific activity. To find it, there’s a basic calculation that anyone can use. Take 220 and subtract your age. For example: If you’re 40 years old, your max heart rate will be 180 bpm (beats per minute). Once you’ve done the calculation, begin applying it to your workouts. “You know that an aerobic exercise is roughly [at] 60 to 70 percent, so you take that percentage out of that,” said McKinnon. “It'll tell you where you need to be on a cardiovascular machine, your iPhone, watch, etc.” The same logic can be applied to anaerobic workouts. “Once you take 220 minus your age, it's going to allow you to get the percentages and burn fat or burn glycogen,” he said. But to do this, you need to challenge yourself. That means switching up routines and moving from low to high-intensity workouts. This can include yard work, cleaning the house, or playing with your kids. “Walking programs are excellent, but I feel like some people don't want to get outside their comfort zone,” said McKinnon. Implementing these changes are necessary to improve heart health, regulate blood pressure, and manage your weight. Looking for more fitness tips? Read these posts:
Photo credit: champlifezy

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