Aerobic (with oxygen) or cardiovascular exercise:
Some muscle fibres need little glucose and a lot of oxygen. They can move small loads for long periods of time.
Example: jogging, walking, relaxing cycling, etc.
Effects of aerobic exercise:
- Limited benefit for cardiovascular system.
- Doesn't build muscle
- Has little impact on stamina and capacity.
Anaerobic (without oxygen) exercise:
Some other muscle fibres work with large amounts of glucose and almost no oxygen. This is called anaerobic metabolism, where we can lift heavy loads for short periods of time.
Example: weight lifting, push-ups, gymnastics, etc.
The metabolic by-products of anaerobic exercise cause pain and paralysis, preventing further muscle contraction until these by-products are cleared.
Blood glucose decreases more with anaerobic than with aerobic exercise, because of the bigger reliance on glucose metabolism. Regular anaerobic exercise (regular training) results in a more efficient glucose uptake - with the help of insulin - by muscle cells, as glucose transporters multiply on the surface of the cells. This is called insulin sensitivity, the opposite of insulin resistance, where the muscle cells resist the action of insulin to take up glucose. Insulin then drives glucose into the fat cells for storage (= weight gain).
Benefits of anaerobic exercise, highly recommended to everyone, but especially to diabetics:
- Increased muscle mass improves the ratio of abdominal fat to lean body mass.
- Anaerobic exercise stimulates heart rate.
- Greater decrease in blood sugar.
- Stronger muscles and stronger bones.