There is a constant argument among health and fitness professionals about which is more effective – strength training or cardiovascular exercise. While everyone has their answer to this age old argument, they each have their benefits and they should be done in conjunction with one another in order to achieve the maximum results. Cardio will help keep your insides healthy while strength training will help you look better naked. Here are some of the benefits of each so you can get the science behind it all.
Benefits of Cardiovascular Exercise
Cardio, aka cardiovascular exercise, is anything that gets your heart rate up, makes you feel sweaty, and gets more oxygen pumping through your blood. Cardio can be done in almost any setting – running, cycling, swimming and walking – which makes it the perfect grab & go exercise for your busy lifestyle. The benefits you can experience from adding cardio to your workout are numerous –
* Quick Weight Loss – If you do a longer cardio session, you could burn somewhere in the range of 500-800 calories, depending on the exact length and intensity level. That is a fairly decent number and will definitely help you with your fat loss goals. You must burn off 3500 calories in order to lose one pound of body fat, so doing enough of these cardio sessions, and making sure you’re not eating these calories back, will cause weight loss to take place.
* Heart Health – Cardio in the light to moderate intensity range will help to stimulate the body to increase overall blood volume. This will increase your red blood cell count, which carries oxygen everywhere in your body. Cardio is also helpful for reducing blood pressure in a short term setting in comparison to strength training.
* Circulation – Cardio also creates improve the peripheral cardiovascular system. This system consists of the veins and arteries outside of the chest and abdomen (veins in the legs, hands, arms and feet). Such improvements would include increasing capillary density and overall efficient circulation.
* Stress Relief – Physical activity helps bump up the production of your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins. Although this function is often referred to as a runner’s high, a rousing game of tennis or a nature hike also can contribute to this same feeling.
Benefits of Strength Training
Strength training is any exercise that helps the different muscles in your body become stronger and more powerful. It can be done through using anything from your own bodyweight, resistance bands, or externally added weights.
* The “After Burn” – Studies have demonstrated that after a weight training workout, your metabolism can be boosted for up to 36 hours post-workout, meaning rather than burning say 60 calories an hour while sitting and watching TV, you’re burning 70. While you may be thinking ‘Big deal – 10 extra calories’; multiplying this by 36 hours can help you see what a huge difference that makes in your daily calorie expenditure over that period of time. With cardio training, you might get an extra 40-80 calories burned over a moderate-paced session, and this will depend upon the exact intensity and duration of the workout.
* Metabolic Increase – Strength training builds muscle, and more muscle helps you burn more calories — even when you’re doing nothing but sitting on the couch. Muscles will naturally help to increase your basal metabolic rate, which is how many calories your body burns when it’s at rest. The more muscle you have, the more fuel you are constantly burning.
* Body Reshaping – Cardio training generally will help you lose weight, however typically this weight loss is going to be a bit of a combination between fat and muscle; therefore what you’re left with is a smaller version of your current self. When you are performing strength training you stand a better chance of losing strictly body fat, while helping to enhance the natural curves of your body.
* Bone Density – As you age, especially if you’re a woman, your body actually loses bone density and makes you more prone to osteoporosis. Studies show that strength training over a period of time can help prevent bone loss and may even help to build new bone.
So next time you’re ready to call to cancel your training session, mainly because you don’t feel like coming, remember that working out (whether it be from cardio or weights)is not about just making you look good. Exercise is about all the added benefits it does to your body as well as improving your attitude, confidence and health while also making you look amazing. Get Lifted!