Difference Between Aerobic Exercise and Anaerobic Exercise (With Table)

The significance of health is indisputable. A healthy body complies with two things, mental health, and physical fitness. Physical fitness is the capacity of a person to carry out his daily activities without any weakness.

Exercising daily maintains one’s physical fitness. The two types of exercise classified based on oxygen usage are Aerobic and Anaerobic.

Aerobic Exercise vs Anaerobic Exercise

The main difference between Aerobic and Anaerobic exercise is that Aerobic exercise requires oxygen from the body, whereas Anaerobic exercise takes energy stored in the muscles. There is no usage of oxygen in Aerobic Exercises. The early state of all exercises is Anaerobic.

During Aerobic Exercises, energy is taken from oxygen present in the body. These are the types of exercises done with low intensity but for longer periods. For Example; Jogging is a sort of sunning for a longer time. These are exercises used for weight loss or physical fitness.

During Anaerobic Exercises, energy is taken from energy present in muscles. These are the types of exercises done with high intensity but for a shorter time. For Example; Weight lifting: Requires a lot of energy but for a few seconds. These are exercises used for body building or muscles.

Comparison Table Between Aerobic Exercise and Anaerobic Exercise

Parameters of ComparisonAerobic ExerciseAnaerobic Exercise
DefinitionDuring Aerobic Exercises, Energy is used in form of oxygen from the body.During anaerobic Exercise ,Energy stored in Muscles is used.
Oxygen useThey use oxygen from the bodyThey do not use oxygen
Time PeriodIt is done for long period of time.It is done for short period of time
IntensityAerobic exercise are less intenseThese are done with higher intensity than aerobic exercises.
Mainly used forThese are manly done for Weight-loss or to maintain physical fitness.This is done for body building.
By products The By products formed after Aerobic exercises are mainly water and carbon di oxideThe by products usually formed is lactic acid
ExamplesThe examples are jogging ,swimming ,cycling etc.The examples are weightlifting, jumping ,mountain climbing etc.

What is Aerobic Exercise?

The aerobic word itself means “with air“. For every movement in the body, we require Energy. So the body needs the energy to exercise. In Aerobic exercise, Energy is used from oxygen present in the body.

The duration of Aerobic exercise is usually longer than 2 minutes. Although, the time required in Aerobic Exercises is high but with low intensity at a steady state.
For Example. Cycling: It is done at a steady state for more than 2 minutes.
The other examples of Aerobic Exercises are Jogging, cycling calisthenics, etc.

Aerobic Exercises are the best choices if you want to lose weight. It is the same as Cardiovascular exercise. In cardiovascular exercise, Exercises are done which require oxygen. To maintain a steady heart rate and increase the cardio endurance these types of exercises are done.

Aerobic exercises also use oxygen, so they are also a type of cardiovascular exercise.
The by-products formed after Aerobic exercise are carbon dioxide and water. We breathe out carbon dioxide and water is precipitated out of the body in form of sweat which helps in weight loss.

What is Anaerobic Exercise?

The “Anaerobic” word itself means “without air”. The body needs the energy to exercise. In Anaerobic exercise, Energy which is stored in muscles of every individual body is used. The duration of Anaerobic exercise is usually short but the exercises are of really high intensity.
For Example; Weight lifting.

When weight lifting, we require a lot of energy from our hand and arm muscles. After holding for 5-10 seconds we drop the weight down. Hence, the work done is of high intensity but for short time. These are the type of Anaerobic Exercises. The other examples of Anaerobic Exercises are Sprint Racing, jumping, mountain climbing, etc.

Anaerobic Exercises develop strong muscles. By this form of exercise, bones become thick. Hence, for bodybuilding, these are the most suitable forms of exercise. It is also responsible for developing speed.

The by-products formed after Anaerobic exercise is usually lactic acid. This lactic acid is responsible for the development of cramps. After vigorous exercise, there is a temporary shortage of oxygen in the muscles,at the same time, lactic acid is formed. That is responsible for muscles cramp after heavy exercise.

Main Differences Between Aerobic Exercise and Anaerobic Exercise

  1. In Aerobic Exercise energy is taken from oxygen present in the body while in Anaerobic energy used in muscle is used to exercise.
  2. In Aerobic oxygen is burnt while in Anaerobic no oxygen is used.
  3. Aerobic Exercises are done for a longer period, usually more than 2 minutes. Whereas in the case of Anaerobic Exercise time range is usually less.
  4. Aerobic exercises are less intense and done at a constant rate while in the case of Anaerobic exercises, intensity is high.
  5. In Anaerobic exercise, bones tend to thicken. Hence it is done for bodybuilding and aerobic is done for weight loss.
  6. The by-products in aerobic are water and carbon dioxide while in anaerobic it is lactic acid.
  7. The examples of aerobic exercises are jogging, cycling, etc., wherein anaerobic examples are jumping, weight lifting, etc.


Energy is required to do any sort of work. Even for the slightest of movements, we require energy.For aerobic exercise oxygen is inhaled from the environment is used as energy to exercise whereas in anaerobic exercise energy stored in muscles is used to complete work.

Aerobic exercise is done for a long period of time usually more than 2 minutes with low intensity and at a steady rate, whereas for anaerobic exercise, exercise is done for a short period of time but with high intensity. The types of exercise to be performed depending upon the output one is in need of.

For weight loss and maintaining, physical fitness aerobic exercising should be performed as water in form of sweat is the byproduct of aerobic exercise. In anaerobic exercise, our bones thicken. Hence for bodybuilding anaerobic exercise should be performed.


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5329739/
  2. https://academic.oup.com/bmb/article-abstract/48/3/569/297779