Aerobic or Anaerobic Exercise

1This refers to the fuel that the body needs during exercise. In reality a lot of different types of activity are a mixture of aerobic and anaerobic exercise.


Aerobic exercise

involves any activity that uses large groups of muscles contracting at a relatively low rate – this means it can be maintained for a long time. Examples include cycling, swimming, jogging and fast walking.


Aerobic exercise means that muscles use up a lot of glucose as a fuel and tends to lower blood glucose levels.


Anaerobic exercise

involves higher rates of muscle contraction for shorter periods of time. Examples include sprinting, resistance training and weight lifting. Most racquet sports (tennis, squash and badminton) have an element of anaerobic activity.


Anaerobic exercise uses different body systems to generate fuel and is usually associated with release of chemicals (counter-regulatory hormones) that block the action of insulin and turn the liver on to make more glucose – this can mean that this type of exercise causes blood glucose levels to rise.


This all means that different types of exercise can affect blood glucose levels in different ways. Planning is therefore essential.