You will probably have come across this debate a lot in the fitness world. Which one is better for you, cardio training or strength training? If you have come across a real fitness expert, then you will know that if you want to achieve the ultimate fitness levels, then you will need both types of training.
People who focus more on only one of those types of workouts have inconsistent results with regards to getting fit and fat loss and often get frustrated and give up on their dream of getting fit. Cardio and strength training consist of different types of workouts which in turn have their individual benefits.
When combined, these workouts complement each other to enhance your overall physical fitness level. This article will give explain the benefits of both of these types of training and why they need to be done in conjunction.
How Much Exercise Do I Need?
You will find that the minimum recommended weekly exercise differs from one fitness expert to another. However, our research shows that an average of 150 minutes a week of exercise is more than enough to keep you fit and healthy.
Some people seem to think that exercise should be done on a daily basis. However, research has shown that it is best to have a rest day in between when performing strenuous exercises. The body needs recovery time and this recovery time helps prevent muscle fatigue and injuries that occur from over-training. Try and include both cardio and strength workouts in your weekly schedule.
Why Are Cardio Workouts Important?
Cardio exercises are usually low intensity exercises that can be done for prolonged periods of time such as running on a treadmill. However, in order to get good results you only need to have cardio sessions that last 20 minutes at a time.
Cardio workouts elevates the heart rate during the exercise and makes the heart work harder and harder to pump blood around the body. In this way, the heart becomes stronger and healthier over time. Cardio workouts also increases lung capacity and the body’s ability to process high amounts of oxygen. Both of these benefits combined will lead to lower blood pressure and less risks of cardio vascular diseases in the future.
Cardio exercises are also important to help the body recover and rebuild itself after strength workouts. It enables increased blood flow to the muscles and also enables quicker recovery of the muscles when they break down and have to heal again. As an additional bonus, you will achieve a decrease in your body fat from the increased calorie burn which results from the workout session.
Drawbacks Of Cardio Exercises
There are a lot of people who think that cardio workouts done at a lower intensity over a long period of time will have greater fat loss results than strength training. However, this is not entirely true.
If you focus solely on high volume of cardio exercises, this will lead to your muscles starting to break down which will cause a decrease in your overall strength. The decrease in strength is mainly because your muscle mass will decrease but other contributing factors are decrease in speed and anaerobic capacity.
If you are to perform cardio exercises and want the fastest results, then you should perform higher intensity workouts which elevates the heart rate more and burns more calories over the same period of time.
Why Is Strength Training Important?
With weight training programs, the muscles are overloaded which causes them to break down and rebuild themselves to be bigger in size. This type of training will result in an increase in muscle mass. Strength training also has the following benefits:
- Increased metabolism
- Strengthens bones, tendons and ligaments
- Increased speed
- Increased overall power
- Increased anaerobic capacity
- Increased cardiovascular function although this is not as much as with cardio exercises
If you are looking at losing body fat, then strength training needs to have higher priority. As mentioned above, increased muscle mass from strength workouts such as training with kettlebells leads to an increase in metabolism which in turn burns more calories than cardio workouts would.
Each pound of muscle tissue in your body will burn on average 35 to 38 calories every day. In addition, your increased muscle mass burns more calories around the clock whereas with a cardio workout, the increased calorie burn usually only lasts a few hours for an average intensity workout.
Best Way Of Exercising
In reality, strength training is more beneficial to the body than cardio exercises if either one was performed exclusively. Therefore, if you are short of time in a particular week, we would always recommend that you give priority to your strength workout over your cardio workout.
However, both cardio and strength training should be performed for better overall fitness, health and recovery as pointed out in the cardio workout section above. If you design your workout routine well, then you will reap the benefits both physically and mentally because exercise also releases endorphins which helps with stress and anxiety.
I hope that this article has helped you to understand the differences between cardio and strength workouts and why they are both important to achieve good fitness and health levels.