Updated November 9, 2020Cardio exercises are any exercise that increases a person’s heart rate for a long period of time. They can often lead to weight loss when paired with a healthy lifestyle. There are two different types of cardio exercises: aerobic and anaerobic.Aerobic exercise consists of physical activity carried out over a long period. On the other hand, anaerobic exercises rely on shorter bursts of intense movement. These two different types of exercise can result in different body types, and this is especially clear when it occurs over several months at a time: Someone who does aerobic exercises typically has a thinner body profile, while someone who does anaerobic exercises tends to have larger muscles on their body.Most cardio activities can be completed at home or outdoors since they need very little equipment, making them feasible for virtually everybody interested in developing a workout routine or getting back into the habit of exercising. In our post, we review everything you need to know about aerobic and anaerobic cardio exercises so you can get started on a workout regimen today.What is Aerobic Exercise?Aerobic exercise occurs when a heart pumps oxygenated blood to working muscles, essentially fueling the muscles. Confused about what makes something an aerobic exercise? It’s simple: When your heart rate and breathing rate are stimulated over a long period of time, it’s considered an aerobic exercise.The best part about aerobic exercise is that it does not need any equipment. This is why almost all of it can be done at home. It is also considered to be low-impact on joints, meaning it’s doable for most people. Regular aerobic exercise has been shown to make your heart stronger while also helping build a person’s endurance. This means you are capable of completing more exercise over a longer period of time.Aerobic exercises have some great physical benefits. They often decrease the risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure, and help control blood sugar. And, of course, these exercises can also help a person lose weight.What is Anaerobic Exercise?Anaerobic exercise relies on glycolysis to create energy. Glycolysis is the breakdown of glucose that is typically stored in your muscles. This is a different fuel source than aerobic exercise, which relies on oxygen as its fuel source. Anaerobic exercises are more physically-demanding and are often higher-impact, meaning you are putting more stress on your bones and joints.Like aerobic activities, anaerobic exercises can also be completed without equipment. They are done in intervals or circuits. This means they need a short amount of maximum effort followed by a defined amount of rest. One example of this is Tabata training, which has you workout for 20 seconds and then rest for 10 seconds for a total of 8 rounds.Anaerobic exercises often increase a person’s oxygen consumption, also known as their VO2Max. A higher VO2Max makes a person’s body more efficient with its use of oxygen, allowing them to work out more consistently.If a person practices anaerobic exercises, they are likely to see muscle growth. Anaerobic exercise can help a person lose weight because it increases your lactic threshold. This means you are able to work out harder for more time, burning more calories in the process.Aerobic vs AnaerobicSimilaritiesBoth are forms of exercise that increase a person’s heart rate while also reducing the risk of heart disease. They both also increase lung capacity due to the stress put on a person’s muscles.For aerobic activities, the stress comes from time spent exercising. For anaerobic activities, stress comes from the intensity of the exercise. While the stress comes from different places, both work to increase lung capacity, ultimately improving your overall health.Both types of exercises are proven ways to help burn fat and boost a person’s metabolism. These two things are especially helpful when you’re trying to lose weight. Besides the health benefits, cardio exercises often help increase a person’s mood.DifferencesTheir respective fuel sources are certainly different. Aerobic relies on oxygen for its main fuel source while anaerobic relies on stored glucose. These exercises differ in terms of bodily impact as well. Aerobic is typically lower-impact, making it accessible for more people. It is particularly accessible for those who are beginning to exercise. Anaerobic, which is higher-impact, requires some workout experience before beginning.The type of impact involved with these exercises also affects the risk of injury. Aerobic exercises have a lower risk of injury because there is no real stress on bones and joints. Anaerobic comes with a higher risk of injury because the exercises are often more-intense.Finally, a person can do aerobic exercises daily without worrying about over-exerting themselves. This is not this case with anaerobic activity, which often requires a day of rest between exercises.4 Best Aerobic Exercises to TryWalking or HikingWalking or hiking are simple exercises that most people can do. Try changing it up by picking a new route for your walk or a new trail for your hike. This is a great time to listen to a book on tape or try that new podcast you’ve been meaning to listen to.RunningSimilar to walking and hiking, running can become more engaging when you take the time to explore a new area. If you’re feeling competitive, sign up for a race in the future and begin training for it. If running seems intimidating, the NHS in the UK has a “Couch to 5k” program to get you up and moving.BikingLong-distance bike riding can be a great aerobic exercise. While it does require equipment, it can open up new areas of your city and town that you haven’t seen before. If you’re worried about the start-up cost, most cities have bike collectives that help you repair and recycle older bikes, and most gyms have recumbent bikes you can use while you’re there.Some SportsWhile not all sports are aerobic activity, the ones that require constant movement usually are. These are things like soccer, tennis, basketball, and swimming. These are your options that require some money, but finding a local league shouldn’t be hard. A quick search for your city or town’s Parks and Recreation department should get you started on finding a team to join.4 Best Anaerobic Exercises to TrySprint Circuit TrainingCircuit training is a series of high-intensity movements followed by a predetermined period of rest. It is a great way to dive into anaerobic exercises.A series of sprints is a great way to start. For beginners, it’s good to do an equal amount of rest to work. Try sprinting for 20 seconds and then resting for 20 seconds. Set a goal for the number of rounds to complete.Aim for 8-10 rounds before moving onto a different circuit. You want to stay active for at least 25 minutes.WeightliftingExercises like weightlifting and Crossfit are also examples of anaerobic exercises. These exercises need the stored glucose in muscles to be broken down for energy.It’s important that you take the time to find the correct amount of weight to lift. If it’s too heavy, you’ll likely injure yourself. If it’s too light, you won’t actually be participating in anaerobic activity. The best thing to do is to use your first workout to calibrate: start with lighter weight and continue to add weight until you find a point where you struggle but can still move the weight successfully.Some good weightlifting exercises that work large muscle groups are deadlifts, bench presses, overhead presses, squats, and bent over rows.One final tip for weight lifting is to make sure you write down what you did and for how many reps so that you can track your progress.PlyometricsThese are exercises that typically increase your speed and power. In order to make sure you’re achieving anaerobic activity, make sure to not rest for too long in between sets. A 1:1 ratio of time worked to time rested is good for starters.Some plyometric exercises to start with are jump squats, reverse lunges, clapping push-ups, and jump knee-tucks. When performing these moves, make sure to land softly and take note of any pain you notice in your joints.Body Weight CircuitsSimilar to the sprint circuits, these are most successful when using a 1:1 ratio of work to rest. The difference is that these include more bodyweight movements and less sprinting, meaning they can be done in the comfort of your own home.Some exercises to use during circuit training are push-ups, squats, squat jumps, mountain climbers, and high knees. High-intensity interval training is also considered to be an anaerobic exercise, this is commonly referred to as HIIT.Common QuestionsWhat cardio exercise burns the most fat?While both types of exercises burn fat, it comes down to a matter of time. This is nice because you can better fit your exercise into your daily schedule. Typically anaerobic exercises such as burpees, jump squats, or jumping rope burn more fat in less time because they’re more intense. Sustained aerobic exercises like biking, running, or swimming will still burn fat; it will just take more time.What does 30 minutes of cardio do?On a consistent basis, 30 minutes of cardio improves sleep at night, and it reduces the risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure, control blood sugar, and assist in weight loss. While this isn’t a magical fix for a healthy lifestyle, 30 minutes of cardio can go a long way in helping you feel and look better. It’s also important to note that you may need to change your cardio depending on how frequently you do it. If walking no longer raises your heart rate enough, you may need to switch to something that will, like jogging.Is too much cardio bad?Yes, too much cardio can be bad for you. Overworking your muscles can damage them, resulting in you losing muscle strength. This will slow down metabolism, which can cause weight gain. Over-exercising can also be quite taxing on a person’s immune system. While general soreness can be expected, especially when you’re just starting, being overly sore is bad for you.How often should I do cardio?The American Heart Association recommends 30 mins of aerobic activities 5 times per week. For beginners, it’s important to note that this does not need to be 30 consecutive minutes. For example, if you took your dog for three 10-minute walks each day, this would also count. The American Heart Association also says you can do 25 minutes of high-intensity anaerobic activities three times a week. Unlike aerobic activities, these would need to be completed in sets of 25 minutes.Can too much cardio make you gain weight?No, Cardio cannot make you gain weight because it burns calories. People gain weight due to changes in the amount of cardio a person does. If a person doesn’t consistently exercise, it can make their metabolism fluctuate. This fluctuation makes it harder to know how much to eat, which can result in weight gain.ConclusionBoth aerobic exercises and anaerobic exercises provide great health benefits, including heart and lung health. Make sure to always check with a doctor before starting either of them. While exercising is a big part of maintaining good health, it’s not the only part. Proper sleep, diet, and hydration also play a key role; maintaining a balance of proper sleep, a healthy diet, and consistent hydration will not only make you feel better, but it will also make your exercising more enjoyable.This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional. Comments Cancel replyLeave a CommentYour email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * Comment Name Email I agree to the Terms and Conditions of this website.