Strength Training vs. Cardio: Is One More Effective Than the Other?

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The decision to lead a healthier life can be one of the best things you can do, but upon embarking on your fitness journey, you’re faced with the never-ending barrage of methods on how to do it best. If you break it down, there are two popular types of workouts: cardio and strength training. Each has their benefits, but let’s explore all you need to know about them. 

Benefits of Cardio

Helps improve longevity 

Nothing compares to cardio when working towards optimizing your longevity. Doing cardio workouts can help reduce your risk of obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and even certain types of cancer. This is accomplished by keeping your heart strong and pumping more blood throughout your body with each beat.

Types of Cardio Exercises: Jogging, swimming, biking, jump rope, elliptical machine, and dancing

High-intensity cardio workouts are effective short duration calorie burners 

The idea of climbing onto a stair-master and hopping on a treadmill for 30 minutes to an hour can be a real bore, which can be a turn-off for people. If you’re on a time crunch and want to get a good cardio work out in, consider incorporating High-intensity interval training (HIIT) into your workouts. HIIT is a cardio session arranged by short bursts of really hard work. By increasing the intensity of your workout, you can gain the benefits of cardio exercises in a shorter amount of time.

Types of HIIT Exercises: Sprints, Squat Jumps, Burpees, and Kettle Bell Swings

Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash

Benefits of Strength Training

Helps burn more calories 

Most people think a tough cardio workout will burn the most calories, but there is a secret aspect of strength training that helps your body burn more calories overall. Following a consistent schedule of strength training helps increase your body’s resting metabolism. This means your body will burn more calories at rest, so even after you’re done lifting weights, your body is still working hard at burning fat. 

Help build up joints and ligaments 

Due to the repetitive nature of cardio such as jogging, your body is at a higher risk of damaging its ligaments, joints, muscles, and tendons. By doing functional strength training, you will minimize any debilitating muscle and ligament injuries, improving your core and balance as well. 

Can be a powerful psychological motivator 

Finishing a strength workout is often accompanied by taking a quick of peep of yourself in the mirror and thinking “Wow, I look great.” While this may seem vain, it is not your imagination. After strength training, blood has rushed to your muscles making them appear fuller and toned. This can have a powerful impact on your self-confidence and overall body image and can help motivate you to continue to pursue your fitness goals. 

Strength training and cardio training both have their unique benefits, but when it comes down to it, they both should have a place in your fitness routine. In the grand scheme of things, cardio and strength training go hand in hand and can have a powerful synergistic effect on your overall fitness goals. 

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