Aerobic Metabolism vs Anaerobic Metabolism

At all times, your body is burning energy. The engine is always running, even if only at an idle.

And while the body runs on one type of fuel (adenosine triphosphate, or ATP), there are two metabolic pathways to get the fuel: aerobic and anaerobic. Aerobic, meaning “with oxygen,” is the primary energy conversion pathway. The vast majority of the time, your breath, bloodstream and cells all coalesce to create energy by the combustion of oxygen with the nutrients in our food. An aerobic combustion engine. The other metabolic process — anaerobic, “without oxygen” — occurs in times of strenuous effort by the muscles, where the body cannot get oxygen through the bloodstream to the cells fast enough, so it goes into an oxygen-free anaerobic mode — an engine turbo-booster of sorts. But anaerobic is always for short spurts. The vast majority of the time, in daily living or during exercise, we’re in aerobic mode.

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Matthew Ankeny