If you’re considering starting an exercise regimen, all the jargon you’re likely to encounter can be intimidating. Should your exercise be aerobic or anaerobic, isotonic or isometric? What’s a MET, and do you need to know your BMR and your VO2 max? To ease any linguistic anxiety, here’s a quick review of some common exercise terms and concepts.
Aerobic vs. anaerobic exercise
Exercise falls into two general categories: aerobic and anaerobic. Aerobic exercise is muscle movement that uses oxygen to burn both carbohydrates and fats to produce energy, while anaerobic exercise is muscle movement that does not require oxygen and only burns carbohydrates to produce energy.
To continue reading this article, you must log in.
Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.
- Research health conditions
- Check your symptoms
- Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
- Find the best treatments and procedures for you
- Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.Sign Me Up
Already a member? Login ».
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.
No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.