Aerobic exercise is called this because it encompasses the exercises that make you ‘out of breath’, so that you begin breathing more deeply as a way of replacing the depleted levels of oxygen in your body and blood. Aerobic exercise works your lungs and speeds up your heart, and it is therefore generally better at burning fat than is anaerobic exercise. Aerobic exercise takes in such things as running or jogging, swimming, cycling and even walking.
Anaerobic exercise on the other hand is the opposite, the kind of exercise that does not get you out of breath or make you ‘puff and pant’. Falling into this category would be the weightlifting. As previously suggested, anaerobic exercise does not burn off the fat as quickly as does aerobic, but it does have the benefit that it is more effective for speeding up your metabolism, leading to the effect of burning more calories even when at rest.
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Aerobic exercise works as part of a fat burning weight loss plan, because your body normally turns to carbohydrates to provide the energy that you need. However, when exercising, your body starts to look to the stored fat to provide some of the necessary energy as well, hence the weight loss effect.
Anaerobic exercise on the other hand will generally be almost entirely fuelled by the carbohydrates in your body, and therefore the fat loss effect is far less noticeable. It does however have the advantage of speeding up your metabolism.
It is important to realize that there are situations where the two different forms of exercise tend to blur into one another. For example, if you start out walking slowly, then that is aerobic exercise, but if you start to push your speed until you reach jogging and then running pace, the expansion and contraction of your muscles means that you are also exercising anaerobically as well as aerobically.