Know the Difference
As we all know, any type of exercise is beneficial for our health. Aerobic. Anaerobic. It doesn’t matter. Both will help you burn calories, increase endurance and improve your overall well-being. But if your main goal is losing weight, the argument between aerobic and anaerobic exercise comes down to quality versus quantity. It’s also important to know the differences between the two types of exercises. Aerobic workouts are less intense yet require more time. With anaerobic exercise, you can burn more calories in a shorter amount of time. In a recent Houston Chronicle Health article, both types of workouts were compared using three important factors described below.
When you exercise, your body requires a continuous supply of energy to keep you going. During moderate aerobic exercise, nearly all of this energy from carbs and fat is produced using oxygen through a process called oxidation. When you’ve exceeded your aerobic capacity and increased your heart rate above 80 percent of its maximum, you’ve entered the anaerobic zone. In this zone, your body quickly produces energy through the breakdown of glycogen stores. This allows glucose breakdown and energy production to continue for a short amount of time.
Calories Burned During Exercise
To lose one pound of body fat, you need to burn approximately 3,500 calories. It sounds like a lot but the higher your heart rate and the more effort you put in during a workout, the more calories you’ll burn. Still, you can only keep it up for a few minutes at a time with how intense anaerobic exercise is. Because of this, the number of calories you’ll burn during a workout can be somewhat limited (you can burn anywhere between 500-800 calories in high-energy workout classes). Taken minute to minute, you will burn more calories exercising anaerobically than you will aerobically, but you may be able to burn more total calories with a long, slow jog as opposed to some short sprints on the track. In other words, the type of workout you do and how much effort you put into it makes the difference.
The Afterburn Effect
Even though you can burn more calories during an aerobic workout due to the amount of time you can exercise, you will still lose weight faster with anaerobic exercise. Really, the most significant factor involved in anaerobic weight loss is what researchers call the afterburn effect. Up to 95 percent of the calories burned in an anaerobic workout is lost after you’re done training, according to Dr. Christopher Scott, Ph.D., an exercise physiology professor at the University of Southern Maine. This is due to a combination of excess post-exercise oxygen consumption and the hypertrophic muscle-building process that is kicked off with intense exercise.
Think About the Pros and Cons
With anaerobic exercise, you may lose weight faster but because of the intensity involved, you can increase the potential for injuries. Sprinting or other forms of anaerobic exercise should not be performed on consecutive days because your body needs proper rest and recovery. Even if you only workout every other day, you’ll notice your anaerobic exercise’s effect on your musculature, if you are consistent of course. Then there are aerobic workouts which will trim fat, help burn calories and give you the shapely, muscular appearance you’re looking for. If you want to get the benefits of both types, consider interval training which consists of alternating between periods of high and low intensity. This way you can get the benefits of multiple anaerobic bursts of exercise while conditioning your cardiovascular system.