One of the most heated debates amongst gym freaks is the debate on which exercise – cardio or strength training – is more beneficial. While both have their pros and cons, it is first important to understand what each is. It is also important to understand that it really depends on your fitness goals to decide which form of exercise is more beneficial for you.
What is Cardio? Cardio is short for cardiovascular conditioning. It is essentially an aerobic activity, meaning it uses oxygen to increase your breathing and heart rate. Exercises under this category include running, cycling, swimming, and Zumba among others.
What is strength training? Strength training is also known as weight training or resistance training. It is an anaerobic activity, meaning it breaks down glucose for energy, without relying on oxygen like cardio does. Exercises under this category include lifting free weights like barbells, dumbbells, and kettlebells or using weight machines.
Cardio is extremely beneficial in improving your heart’s health because it causes it to pump more strongly and efficiently. It also helps in burning more calories during your workout and consequently, helps in losing weight faster.
Strength training, on the other hand, is good for building muscles. It also helps in burning calories because the increased muscle causes your resting metabolism to get faster. Lifting weights also results in a higher bone density, increasing the strength of your muscles and bones. As a result, stronger muscles reduce the risk of injuries.
In conclusion, combining cardio and strength training is the best solution since you get the best of both worlds. You enjoy faster fat loss, muscle gain, as well as improved heart health. You can adjust the proportion of each exercise category depending on your health goal. For instance, if you want to prioritize weight loss, make sure to do more cardio throughout the week.