Cardio or Strength Training, Which Is Best for You?
Deciding whether a cardiovascular workout or training aimed at building strength may be better for you, is much like choosing between driving to the coast or hopping aboard a domestic flight. The right choice will invariably be determined by your personal needs and objectives. There can be no doubt whatsoever, that each minute spent performing aerobic exercises, such as swimming, cycling, jogging, or pounding a treadmill, will burn off far more calories than the same 60 seconds spent pumping iron. Furthermore, a regular cardio workout can help to lower blood cholesterol levels and high blood pressure, and can even be effective in preventing some forms of cancer.
In the context of exercise, the adjective aerobic refers to any activity that assists the main function of your heart, which is to deliver oxygen to your muscles and vital organs. The exercises mentioned above increase the body’s demand for oxygen that is used to burn excess fat while helping you to develop the improved lung capacity to provide it. Generally, around 2,5 hours of cardio a week is recommended.
While this may seem to obviate the need for strength training, it’s worth noting that your muscles burn calories even when you are not working out. Simply put, more muscles burn more calories and so a balanced programme that combines a bit of spinning or a session on the rowing machine with some weight training will definitely be your best option if you are looking for a well-toned physique to highlight your weight loss.
While aerobic exercises will do wonders for your cardiac and respiratory function, two or three sessions each week spent lifting weights or working out on one of the resistance machines can do the same for your bones and joints. Focus on exercises that are designed to strengthen your arms, legs, shoulders, chest, back, and abdominal muscles.
As stated earlier, however, your goals will determine your priorities. If you are preparing for a half marathon, focus more on cardio but, because strength and stamina are also important, don’t neglect the weights.