In an article published online on Pocket, Women’s Health writer Ashley Mateo has explained the difference between aerobic and anaerobic workouts.

She says our body generates energy in two basic ways – anaerobically (without oxygen) and aerobically (with oxygen) so it is important to understand the difference between them.

Understanding the difference could help you burn calories and fat, as well as increase your overall strength, power, and endurance.

Mateo says an anaerobic workout is any “activity performed at a high enough intensity that your body can’t provide the necessary energy to complete it with oxygen intake alone is considered anaerobic.”

Certified personal trainer Lesley Bell says, “Anaerobic workouts primarily utilize fast-twitch muscle fibers that can function only for a short amount of time without the help of additional inhaled oxygen.”

Bell, who is also a brain health coach, explains that with no oxygen, our body uses adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and glucose in the muscle cells for energy.

“But that process can’t be sustained more than 90 to 120 seconds of high-intensity exercise because your muscles have produced a significant amount of lactic acid in that time; after that, “your body must begin to utilize inhaled oxygen in order to break down glucose and fatty acids” to continue to produce energy, says Bell.

Gold’s Gym fitness expert Andy Coggan says, “Anaerobic is done at a high intensity and usually using multiple intervals. Most sports involve anaerobic bursts followed by periods of rest.”

On the other hand, aerobic is a low-intensity exercise designed to keep your heart rate up for a longer period of time.

Coggan says, “Aerobic exercise is anything where oxygen intake is sufficient enough to provide the energy necessary to sustain that exercise without tapping into alternative energy sources.”

“These workouts primarily utilize slow-twitch muscle fibers and the glucose and fatty acids the anaerobic system has already produced for fuel, which can sustain activity for extended periods of time,” explains Bell.

Aerobic exercise induces fat burning, as you still have oxygen in your muscle. Bell says it also “improves the cardiovascular system by strengthening the heart and potentially increasing the maximal amount of oxygen the body can utilize (AKA your VO2 max),” improving your endurance.

Anaerobic exercise burns total calories in a shorter duration of time. Coggan says, “Science shows that this method of training can be extremely beneficial for power development, building muscle mass, and fat burning.”

With anaerobic, you will build stronger bones and joints due to the increased impact on your body.

For more information on the difference between aerobic and anaerobic exercises, read the article titled “What’s The Difference Between An Aerobic And Anaerobic Workout?” published online on Pocket. Mateo is a digital content strategist and a seven-time marathoner, running coach, and Ironwoman.