The Difference Between Aerobic and Anaerobic Training for Sports

To adequately prepare your body for any sport, a training strategy is required.  Your strategy should combine different types of exercise, all serving to enhance agility, speed, strength and flexibility.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a pro or a weekend sports enthusiast.  Your body needs to be ready for what sports demand.  In this post, we’ll talk about the difference between aerobic and anaerobic training for sports.  While fitness fanatics will be familiar with both categories of exercise, those embarking on a lifestyle overhaul may benefit from a brief overview.

Bringing the oxygen – aerobic exercise.

Aerobic exercise is intended to flood your body with oxygen.  Working out at aerobic exercise’s moderate intensity uses fat and glucose reserves to fuel the activity you’re engaged in.  That might be jogging, hiking, fast walking, swimming, or cycling.

Aerobic exercise allows you to carry on a conversation comfortably, as you shouldn’t be out of breath.  It increases stamina, when pursued for the longer periods of exercise it permits.  Adding aerobic activity to your exercise regime helps you maintain a leaner physique while supporting the health of your lungs and heart.

Other benefits include reduced risk of diabetes and heart disease and an elevated mood, due to the release of dopamine into the system.

Pushing the envelope – anaerobic exercise.

Anaerobic exercise is much more intense than its aerobic cousin.  This style of exercise is intended to push your body to the limit of its ability.  Your body responds to anaerobic exercise by burning calories at an accelerated rate and this effect continues in recovery, for up to two hours.

This continued expenditure of calories (sometimes called “afterburn”) makes anaerobic activity a superior form of exercise for those seeking to lose weight.  Weightlifting and sprinting are signature sports in this category.

Intended to be practiced in short bursts with recovery periods interspersing intense physical exertion, the workout your heart and lungs receive with anaerobic exercise is intense and exceptionally effective.

A high-performance strategy.

As I said right at the beginning, sports people need to combine different types of exercise in their physical fitness program.  When they combine the benefits of aerobic and anaerobic activity, they’re getting a high-performance, winning strategy.

With the strength-enhancing intensity of anaerobic activities like resistance training, adding aerobic activity like jogging or cycling creates the ideal one-two punch that gets you where you need to be.

Depending on the sport you love to play, finding the right balance of these two styles of exercise is the ticket to cardiovascular health and the muscle mass you need to win.  In combination, they build you up to be stronger, faster and less prone to injury.


You don’t need to be an athlete to come see the sports medicine professionals at North Jersey Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Institute.  We’re the state’s premier clinic specialized in musculoskeletal pain relief for all kinds of people.

Our practice encompasses the full spectrum of orthopaedic care, from intake and diagnosis, through treatment and full recovery.  Contact us to find out more.

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