Decisions, Decisions: Strength Training vs. Cardio?

During workouts, do you put too much emphasis on cardio? Strength training? Both!?! NEITHER!?!  For optimal health, it is essential to incorporate both into a workout regimen.  Research conflicts as to which is better; regardless, cardiovascular exercise offers benefits that strength training cannot AND vice versa.  It’s comparable to choosing to wear a shirt or pants; BOTH are ideal.  

Cardio training develops and strengthens the heart as well as blood vessels, which improve circulation.  A healthy heart is efficient because it pumps a larger amount of blood with fewer beats compared to a weaker one.  Effective aerobic exercise minimizes stress, high blood pressure and risk of a heart attack, stroke and/or osteoporosis.   Additionally, it lowers LDL “bad” cholesterol, while it raises HDL “good” cholesterol.  For those whose goal is body fat reduction, cardio is an important component to help maximize caloric burn.   

How does cardio and strength training complement each other?  Cardio consistently enhances intensity for an extended period during the workout which creates more tolerance to resist lactic acid fatigue.  What cardio exercise is most powerful?  Any activities that will get your heart rate elevated into its target zone, like high impact movements (running or stepping on the stair mill) to low impact movements (swimming or biking) is advantageous for maximal caloric burn.

Strength training involves lifting weights heavy enough to produce an increase in lean muscle. This leads to stronger connective tissue, improved balance and coordination, enhanced joint stability, increased metabolism and stronger bones.  Strength training helps decrease body fat due to the amount of calories burned during and long after the workout.  Which exercises are most advantageous?  Any multi-joint movement such as squats, deadlifts, lunges, step-ups, etc.

The combination of cardio (which strengthens the heart, lungs and blood vessels) and strength training (which produces lean muscle to support the skeleton and organs) lead to superior health and fitness.  In addition to cardio and strength training, nutrition plays just as a critical role (if not the most to some) and should not be overlooked.  Learn how to combine the benefits of all three in order to maximize results by contacting Dan at 978.807.8579 or visit seachangefit.com to learn more.

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About Sea Change Fitness & Nutrition

Exercise Physiologist Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist Certified Nutrition Specialist

Posted on June 28, 2012, in Dan's Blog and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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