Q: What are aerobic and anaerobic exercises?

A: In simple terms, you can breathe easily during aerobic exercise; breathing is harder during anaerobic exercise.

Aerobic exercise is low- to moderate-intensity movement that can be sustained for longer periods. You should be able to breathe comfortably and talk without feeling the need to catch your breath. Jogging at a comfortable pace, biking, hiking, and swimming are examples. Aerobic exercise is great for burning fat, strengthening your heart and lungs, and reducing the risk of disease.

Anaerobic exercise is high-intensity training that gets your heart pumping and increases your breathing rate. It's more taxing on the body and requires recovery between sessions. Sometimes referred to as interval training or high-intensity interval training, anaerobic exercises are done in short bursts. These exercises include weight-lifting, jumping jacks, and sprints, and they burn a lot of calories in a short time.

Both types of exercise are beneficial to a balanced program to help you lose weight and stay fit. Though aerobic exercise burns fat during your workout, anaerobic exercise burns more calories overall because the more intense the exercise, the more oxygen your body consumes after your workout. This process is also known as "after burn."

If you are new to exercising, begin with aerobic exercise. You will want to build up your fitness before introducing anaerobic intervals.

Start with 10 to 15 minutes of aerobic exercise two days a week until you can comfortably increase it to 30-minute sessions. Then, increase your exercise routine to four times per week. Once you have built up your endurance, you can start introducing intervals into your workouts.

Consider working with a trainer to determine a custom blend of aerobic and anaerobic exercises that are right for you.

- Alex Buccino, a registered dietician at Life Time Athletic, Mount Laurel