Cardio vs strength training is a dilemma that most people, especially those new to the gym, have faced. While cardio is a type of exercise that raises your heart rate for an extended period, increasing metabolism, strength training focuses on using resistance to induce muscular contraction, which in turn builds strength.
While both can be done in a single workout session, the question of which method yields better results is an argument as old as time.
Differences Between Cardio & Strength Training
Cardio and strength training differ mainly by duration and the intensity of muscular contraction involved, and how energy is generated. Cardio — which includes jogging, swimming, biking, and rowing — improves the heart health, while strength training — which includes weightlifting, pushups, and resistance bands — benefits both the muscle and the joints by increasing bone density and giving a lean muscle mass.
Advantages of Cardio Training
Cardio training, as stated earlier, works on the heart muscles and has the following advantages.
1. Improved heart health
Cardio exercise works on the heart muscle. Just like any other muscle, the heart muscle needs to be worked on in order for it to function well. If you don’t do this regularly, the heart muscle will weaken with time and perform its function poorly.
2. Increased body metabolism
With the increased heart rate there comes an increased metabolism, which leads to faster burning of fats and weight loss.
3. Improved hormonal profile
Cardio exercise produces hormones that ease symptoms of depression and fatigue. People who do cardio generally have an optimistic perception towards life.
4. Improved ability to recover
Cardio helps recover from tedious exercise. If you have just had a tough session, doing cardio like light skipping or jogging will help you recover faster.
5. Management of diabetes
Cardio helps diabetes patients’ hearts to utilize glucose hence controlling the blood sugar levels.
Advantages of Strength Training
Strength training mainly works on muscle and joints, and has the following advantages.
1. Improves health
Strength training has tremendous benefits on health that include, reducing chances of diabetes, reducing chances of getting some type of cancer, lower blood pressure, reducing strength and anxiety among others.
2. Builds Strength
Just as the name suggests, strength exercise increase muscle strength and power, enhancing performance of everyday tasks.
3. Improves flexibility
As it works on muscles and joints, strength training improves the overall body flexibility, reducing the risks of muscle pull and back ache.
4. Reduces risks of injury
As the muscles are stronger, they are less likely to give way under stress, therefore reducing injuries.
5. Improves posture
Our posture is determined by how strong our muscles are. Stronger muscles help us have an upright posture.
6. Better muscle tone
Strength training results in firmer more defined muscles.
From the above discussion it is clear that both cardio and strength training have tremendous value in our bodies. The good news is that you really don’t have to choose between them as they complement each other very well.
Depending on what works for you can choose what order to do them in and the two will surely go a long way in helping you keep fit and lose weight.