Metabolism basically refers to the entire chemical reactions which occur within a living being by which multifaceted molecules are usually broken down so as to generate energy and this energy is then applied to various purposes in the body, for instance, building new molecules and keeping the body warm. On the other hand, anaerobic and aerobic metabolisms are chemical terms which refer to the chemical reactions which go through in for instance a human body with the aim of releasing energy in the type of ATP.
Aerobic metabolism occurs in the presence of oxygen where the chemical process uses up oxygen so as to generate energy from sugars (carbohydrates). Once muscles are worked out at a sluggish speed and more so not over exercised, then there is adequate oxygen at hand or rather present for the process of metabolism to occur. Therefore, aerobic respiration transpires during this period with glucose/sugar undertaking the following overall reaction with the presence of oxygen: C6H12O6 + 6O2(g) –> 6CO2(g) + 6H2O (l) + heat. The process produces heat which in this case is energy discharged in the creation of 30 ATP bits for every molecule of sugar/glucose. Also, aerobic metabolism happens not to be very exhausting as all the substances formed during the chemical reaction are not noxious to muscles (Muscle Physiology – Glucose Metabolism, n.d.).
Anaerobic metabolism refers to the form of metabolism which occurs in the presence of oxygen to generate lactic acid and this acid is responsible for causing soreness in muscles subsequent to exercising. During extreme muscular action, the quantity of oxygen obtainable for the process of respiration is usually limited and this is when anaerobic metabolism kicks in so that the body can acquire energy for the period of this phase. Seemingly, anaerobic metabolism is awfully unproductive since it only produces two ATP molecules in favor of every molecule of carbohydrate/glucose used up. As a result of the creation of lactic acid which apparently is poisonous to body muscles, it has to be predisposed off as soon as possible. Due to the toxicity produced, this form of metabolism can only give energy for short spans of time (Rippe 2013).
Muscle Physiology – Glucose Metabolism. (n.d.). Muscle Physiology. Retrieved June 10, 2013, from http://muscle.ucsd.edu/musintro/glucose.shtml
Rippe, J. M. (2013). Lifestyle medicine (2nd ed.). Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.