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Creating a lighter, healthier you is a multi-step process. One of the most important steps, and the main focus of this section, is exercise. Here we explore everything from the benefits of exercise to how much and how often it is necessary to promote weight loss.

The Difference Between Aerobic and Anaerobic Exercises

All exercise is good exercise! But most health experts will agree the combination of both aerobic and anaerobic exercise is best. So what exactly are the differences between the two? BistroMD is "working out" those exercise distinctions!


Aerobic Vs. Anaerobic Exercises

Aerobic is defined as "living, active, or occurring in the presence of oxygen". So when it comes down to the difference between aerobic and anaerobic exercise, oxygen is the key determent. During aerobic exercise, oxygen supplies the body with energy to sustain the workout, involving continuous, rhythmic movements of large muscles for at least 20 minutes. During the initial 20 minutes, the body utilizes carbohydrate and its body stores (known as glycogen) as its primary fuel source. After 20 minutes of constant movement, the body starts to burn body fat to power the muscles and body, also known as "aerobic fat-burning." Aerobic exercises include jogging and running, brisk walking, cycling, dancing, and canoeing.

Anaerobic exercises rely on energy breakdown from muscle stores rather than oxygen supply during aerobic activity. Even further unlike aerobic exercise and their constant flow of movement, anaerobic exercise is short in duration at high-intensity levels. But the short bursts of high-powered exercises are less able to be carried out for more than two to three minutes at a time, thus requiring breaks within repetitions to "catch your breath." Such anaerobic exercises include sprints, high jumping, diving, and high-intensity interval training. Interestingly, all exercises start out as anaerobic exercise as the body starts to undertake and adapt to the workout. Activities such as basketball and soccer also tend to require both anaerobic and aerobic fuel sources.

Exercise Recommendations

• Partake in exercise at least five days of the week
• Start workouts with light activity and warm-ups such as jumping jacks and a light walk or jog
• Work up to moderate or vigorous activity as tolerated:

- Moderate Activity: brisk walking at a three to four mile per hour pace, cycling at less than a 10 mile per hour pace, jogging, recreational sports, leisurely canoeing and swimming, dancing, mowing the lawn or other yard work
- Hard/Vigorous Activity: brisk walking at over a four mile per hour pace, cycling at more than a 10 mile per hour pace, strength training, moving furniture, aerobic sports requiring a high volume of continuous movement

• Slowly increase intensity and duration over several weeks or months to prevent injury
• Increase fluid intake to decrease the risk of dehydration and muscle cramps
• Fuel with a light carb-rich snack prior to a workout; refuel with a protein-rich, with a moderate carb content, following an intense workout

Benefits of Aerobic and Anaerobic Exercise

• Weight loss or maintenance with increased metabolism
• Increased lean muscle mass with reduction in body fat
• Heightened heart and lung capacity and function
• Reduced risk of heart disease
• Increased bone mineral density
• Improved glucose tolerance and blood sugar regulation
• Boosted mood and sense of well-being and self-esteem

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