Reasons Why You Need Both Strength Training and Cardio
September 09, 2021
The moment you hit 35, your body starts undergoing various changes. One of the least observed changes is that you begin to lose between a half and one pound of muscle each year. The only antidote to this muscle loss is strength training.
There are two opposing schools of thought. On one hand, the proponents of cardio hail it over strength training because of the cardiovascular benefits and protection from several other diseases. On the other hand, it is impossible to get truly fit without strength training.
The important question here is what's the better approach? Or better still, why not combine both?
There is only one way to reinforce and build muscles, and that is with strength training. If you are currently on a weight-loss program, it would be best to know that you will not only lose fat but also muscle. As you work on your weight loss, incorporate strength training to maintain, or even build muscle.
Working on strength training means you raise your metabolic rate, which aids in weight loss. That's not where the benefits stop. When you take up high-intensity interval training that goes beyond 75% of your maximum heart rate, you experience the afterburn effect, also known as Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption.
Afterburn is characterized by increased metabolism for a few hours or more after you stop exercising. You have to sustain that high-intensity exercise in short bursts if you want to see any results.
The Cardio Advantage
Runner's high can be seriously addictive to people who experience it. The moderate intensity of aerobic exercises means that one can do them for long periods in comparison to the start and stop nature of weight training. This non-stop exercising is what gives cardio a comparative advantage over strength training when it comes to energy expenditure.
Cardio exercises are held in esteem for their ability to keep chronic health conditions at bay. These conditions include coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. They also lower the risk for certain conditions like various types of cancers and obesity.
Similar to strength training, the effects of cardio exercises start manifesting after months of consistent action. You can easily witness an improvement in memory and the mental fortitude to outlast challenges that come your way.
Putting the Two Together: Cardio and Strength Training
Most people you meet are purists of one of these binary choices. They either want to lose weight by taking on cardio, or they want to tone and put on some muscle with weight training. There is a third option available; combining the two.
Taking on both strength training and cardio exercises requires a highly individualized approach. The approach will be guided by the goals you want to accomplish, your body type, and if you are sporty, the sport you are aiming towards.
You can start by merging the best traits from each of these exercise types. Incorporating resistance training in your continuous movement at moderately high intensity should get you started.
You can also integrate both workouts into a schedule. For instance, have cardio on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. In between, you can have strength training, that is, on Tuesdays and Fridays. Thursday can be your rest and recuperation day.
If you have the time, you can do cardio exercises in the morning, followed by strength training in the afternoons. This is important if you love morning runs, and want to do it when you have 'fresh' legs.
The whole debate between strength training and cardio has seen people miss out on the benefits that both types of exercise can offer. While each type of exercise has its uses, merging them makes for greater opportunities to achieve and maintain your ideal body.