Cardio or Strength – Which One to Choose and Why?
To help you decide whether to choose cardio or strength for your exercise regime here are some benefits listed.
Strength or resistance training is a type of training that focuses on strengthening your body muscles. Strength is the amount of energy you use to lift a weight and the number of times you are able to move that weight determines your muscular endurance. Strength or resistance training includes equipment such as dumbbells, balls, barbells, stability balls, leg press, shoulder press, resistance tubes/bands, push-ups/sit-ups, etc.
Depending on the choice of equipment you choose, Strength training focuses on a particular muscle to work on. For example; crunches or push-ups concentrates on abdominal muscles, leg press units works on calves, dumbbells on biceps, shoulder press strengthens the neck muscles and so on.
Strength training builds muscle mass; it proves essential especially when the muscle mass decreases with age. It reduces visceral fats, meaning fats that gets stored within the abdominal cavity. Visceral fat is responsible for central obesity, a leading cause for heart diseases and diabetes. Strength training increases joint flexibility, strengthens the bones and also help in improving balance. As you burn calories to build muscular strength, you are able to loose unwanted fats from your body.
Cardio exercise typically includes running, walking, swimming, climbing stairs, or any form of aerobic exercise that increases the heart rate. It includes working on bicycles, treadmills, rowing machines, elliptical and stair steppers.
It’s focus is to get the heart rate up and improve blood circulation in the body. It is the easiest way to burn calories by getting your body moving and a fast way to loose extra kilos. It challenges your heart and lungs to work harder. One of the most important changes taking place in cardiovascular training is that the working muscles become more efficient at taking in and using oxygen. The more intense the cardio session, the more is the body’s metabolic rate and easier to maintain weight.
SO WHAT DO YOU CHOOSE? CHOOSE BOTH!
Try both the forms of workout because each of it offers a different set of benefits. Based on your body needs, you can adjust its weekly frequency. For instance, if you often complain of having muscles stiffness or pain in your neck or legs, you probably don’t use your muscles regularly, which has led to muscle weakness. Weak muscles over a long period of time puts pressure on the adjoining joints and eventually on the nerves. The pressure creates a lot of pain and often needs medical intervention. At the same time, you also need to build your stamina and improve blood circulation as that will help in adequate supply of oxygen to all parts of the body. So in such situation, frequency of strength training will be more than cardiovascular training. However, if you’re getting ready for a marathon, or skiing, the majority of your preparation should involve cardiovascular training as it will increase aerobic capacity and improve stamina.
The American Heart Association recommends strength training at least twice a week. Most studies show minimum of 30 minutes of cardio workout three times a week to improve cardiovascular fitness. Lastly, work with a knowledgeable fitness professional to help you design the number and length of both training and rest intervals.