Aerobic and Anaerobic Muscle Activity

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Muscle activity and exercise may all seem the same, but there is actually two different forms of muscle activity related to exercise. You may have heard the terms aerobic and anaerobic used to describe different forms of exercise. Aerobic exercise refers to endurance exercises such as biking, running or swimming. Anaerobic exercise refers to strength training and weight training. The difference is significant because aerobic and anaerobic muscle activity are fueled by different forms of energy, and have significantly different charactertics. Read on to learn more about aerobic and anaerobic muscle activity, and their role in muscle movement and endurance.

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Muscle and Exercise

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Muscle and aerobic or anaerobic exercise
Muscle and Exercise

Although the terms aerobic and anaerobic are often used to describe different types of exercise, they actually define the cell respiration mechanism used to produce muscle energy.

Energy produced through aerobic respiration requires oxygen. In aerobic respiration, glucose and oxygen are converted into energy, carbon dioxide and water. Aerobic respiration produces high levels of energy, and is a very sustainable form of energy production. It is the form of cell respiration required for endurance exercises such as biking, running or swimming.

Anaerobic respiration takes place in the absence of oxygen. In anaerobic respiration, glucose is converted into energy and lactic acid. This energy can be accessed very quickly, but the muscle energy is also depleted very quickly. Anaerobic respiration is involved in strength training or weight training where a burst of energy is required, but doe not need to be sustained. For example, you may be able to lift a heavy weight a few times, but your muscles will get tired quickly and you will no longer be able to lift the weight.


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