Aerobic and anaerobic effort – what’s the difference?

Aerobic and anaerobic effort – what’s the difference?

Every exercise you do is either aerobic or anaerobic. Each has a different effect on the body. Some may argue which type is better for which athlete, but the truth is that they are both necessary in balanced development. What is the difference between them? And how is sports tracking useful in this case?

Aerobic – what does this really mean?

“Aerobic” literally means “with oxygen”. The body takes in so much oxygen that it is predominant in muscles metabolism. It doesn’t just happen by itself, though. A person exercising has to perform movement for at least a few minutes and it has to be moderate effort, such as cycling or jogging. Usually aerobic exercise is performed over a long period of time, even more than an hour. If you repeat aerobic exercises you can be sure that they’ve provided your muscles a sufficient amount of oxygen and they can work for a long time without fatigue.

Anaerobic – prepare to break a sweat

Anaerobic exercises usually last for a short period of time but they require maximum effort. It could be a sprint for example. Within seconds, the body has to develop as much power as possible. This causes lactate to form. Oxygen doesn’t have a chance to reach the muscles before the exercise is over. Of course, some sports disciplines are based only on anaerobic effort, but it would be impossible to generate such energy without a good foundation created by aerobic exercises.

Where is the border between aerobic exercise and anaerobic exercise?

There is no strict line between these two types of exercises, or between the types of metabolism they trigger. The aerobic threshold indicates the moment when oxygen transport is not as easy as before and lactate starts to form. It’s not that the body doesn’t take that oxygen in anymore. It’s a state when these two types of metabolism combine. But the longer this effort takes and the more tiring it is, the more lactate is in the body and less oxygen is being taken in.

Know your body’s reaction – stay within the threshold

Since there are two different types of metabolism, an athlete should know exactly which one he or she is aiming for during a particular training session. They should be able to check it too. This is possible with the use of a heart rate monitor once the athlete knows his or her threshold. Better yet, if they use a GPS tracker along with the HRM, it gives them even more precise information. Thanks to sports tracking, the user knows not only if they were performing an anaerobic exercise, but also for how long exactly and what distance they covered while absorbing oxygen.

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