There is no denying the benefits of exercising daily. It is great for your heart, great for your mood and will help you remain or reach your ideal body weight.
In fact, the benefits of daily exercise can lead to a longer life as the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute reported in December 2020 that a review of nine studies of 44,000 adults, ages 47 to 74, showed that 30 to 40 minutes of daily exercise correlates with “fewer incidents of premature death due to sedentary lifestyles.”
So, when it comes time to put down the TV remote or Xbox controller, what kind of daily exercise should you do, cardio or weight training? Cardio (short for cardiovascular) is also called aerobic exercise. Running, cycling, and swimming are examples of cardio.
While cardio is about getting your heart rate up, weight training utilizes machines or equipment such as dumbbells and free weights to build and strengthen muscle. Let's look at the benefits of both cardio and weight training.
Benefits of Cardio
The good news is you do not have to be a world-class athlete to get in a daily cardio workout. Everything from dancing to kayaking to tennis can provide cardio exercise.
Depending on your health and level of fitness, you can choose what level of activity you do, from low impact such as walking, all the way to high impact such as long distance running.
- The benefits of cardio, according to the Mayo Clinic, include:
- Helps with weight control by burning calories.
- Strengthens your heart and other muscles.
- Improve your sleep patterns.
- Lower your chances of heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.
- Improve your mood.
- Reduce stiffness and arthritis pain.
“Just 30 minutes of moderately-intense aerobic exercise each day can improve your overall well-being and enhance your physical fitness level,” John Shea wrote in FitDay.
Benefits of Weight Training
In contrast to cardio, weight training is an anaerobic exercise.
While cardio requires oxygen to generate the energy needed for exercise, weight training uses a biochemical process of breaking down glucose in the body to generate energy.
Weight training is often associated with shorter workouts that are intense.
The benefits of weight training, according to FitDay, include:
- Helps with weight control by building muscle and boosting metabolism.
- Increases bone density, lowering risk of osteoporosis.
- Integral component of training for other athletic activities.
- Reduces stress.
- Improve self-esteem.
- Help with joint flexibility.
Note that weight training benefits are gender neutral though the stereotype may be the male bodybuilder.
Celebrity trainer Michelle Lovitt told Health.com: “I’m actually so surprised when women still admit to me that they don’t do any weight training. The benefits go so far beyond getting big muscles. I encourage everyone to stray away from only heading for the cardio machines.”
Benefits of Balance
Of course, the answer when it comes to cardio vs. weight training is both! Just like you need a balanced diet, you need a balance of cardio and strength training.
Both cardio and weight training can go a long way to maintain a happy and healthy lifestyle. And if weight loss is your aim, a balance of both is a must.
“Whether you’re looking to trim your waistline or get totally ripped, combining both strength training into your workout regimen is key,” according to the workout experts at Denver gym Shape Plus.
You can alternate cardio days and strength days, or you can do both during a workout by utilizing interval or circuit training. Create your own interval training by jogging for a distance, followed by push-ups or squats, and then repeating the sequence until you get at least 30 minutes.
At your local or home gym you can create your own circuit by using both the cardio machines, such as treadmills and ellipticals, and weight machines.
In southeast Texas, including Austin, Houston, San Antonio, College Station and Beaumont, Exer-Tech specializes in the service and repair of commercial-grade fitness equipment.