Wanting to make the best of long rigorous hours spent exercising is but natural. Exercisers look to craft the most effective routine that can achieve their fitness and health goals.
One of the commonly-asked questions is with respect to structuring routines. In particular, should the focus be on cardio alone or on strength training? What is better?
Let’s first understand the two types before tackling the question:
- Cardio Training
Cardiovascular exercises are those that get the heart rate up. Running, walking, swimming and aerobic exercises are some of the more important types of cardio. The biggest benefit from doing cardio is that it makes heart and lung muscles stronger, helping to improve overall health levels. Another benefit of cardio workouts is that it doesn’t overstrain muscles which is possible with weight training.
- Strength Training
Strength training has for long been used for sculpting body shape and increasing muscle size. Typically, strength training was thought to be for body builders. But that has changed in recent times with studies showing that it often gives better results for regular fitness goals like weight loss. Often using equipment with resistance, weight training exercises work on isolated muscles or muscle groups helping them become bigger and stronger.
- Balancing Cardio and Strength Training Is the Key
The experts are clear that both strength and cardio training have a place in exercise regimes as each have a different role to perform and are synergistic.
The focus should thus not be choosing one or either but getting the right mix of both for best results.
- The Deciding Factor
To design the most effective workout plan, define your fitness goals. Some want their workout to deliver weight loss while some want to build stronger muscles, others maybe be just looking for reasons to move.
Identifying clearly what you want to achieve out of your exercise program will help you decide on what is best for your needs.
- General Fitness and Health
It has repeatedly proven that cardio plays a vital role in improving overall heath as it makes the heart muscles stronger and improves energy levels. Strength training can be added for addressing weak muscles or building muscle mass.
- Fat Loss/Weight Loss
Both strength training and cardio are vital to achieve weight loss. Although cardio is known to boost fat burning, it can lead to muscle loss. That’s where strength training comes in. With weight training, muscles are given targeted workout for building them up.
- Muscle Building & Toning
If you want bulky strong muscles, then strength training is for you. The varied gym machines available can be used to work on specific parts of the body for improving their tone and size
- Training for Specific Event
If you are planning to run a 5k or 10k marathon, Cardiovascular training may be the best as it builds endurance and prepares you adequately. However, adding weight training helps in builds leaner stronger muscles which can lead to better performance.