What Is the Difference Between Aerobic and Anaerobic Respiration?

By Staff WriterLast Updated Apr 13, 2020 2:35:05 AM ET

The primary difference between aerobic and anaerobic respiration is that aerobic respiration involves the use of oxygen while anaerobic respiration does not involve oxygen. Cellular respiration is how cells produce energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate molecules.


Aerobic respiration also produces more energy than anaerobic respiration. A final difference between the two kinds of respiration is that aerobic respiration produces carbon dioxide and water as by products, while anaerobic respiration produces lactic acid.
Fitness experts often use both terms to differentiate between types of exercises. According to WebMD, aerobic exercises are cardio routines such as walking, climbing steps and hiking that people can maintain for extended periods while breathing. Anaerobic exercises are high-intensity, so people can only maintain them for a short period because of a lack of oxygen. These exercises include pushing weights.