Deciding to exercise is just the first step on the path to fitness. The next step is deciding what type of exercise will suit you best, cardio or weight training? Does one benefit us more than the other? I’m often asked this question and my answer is simple. To have a well rounded fitness program, it is equally important to incorporate both of these types of exercise into your fitness program.
Let’s start with cardio exercises. Cardio exercises help build on our cardiovascular fitness. The benefits of cardio exercise include maintaining a healthy heart, burning calories and controlling weight. The amount of calories you burn depends as much on the intensity of your cardio workout as it does the amount of time. This is why it’s important to vary the tempo of your cardio exercise whether it’s your walk, your run, your bike ride or your other cardio based exercises. Always start out slow and increase intensity based on your capabilities. Then back off that intensity and recover. Repeat as you are able and continue to build on your cardio fitness over time.
Weight training on the other hand helps strengthen muscle and stimulates fat loss. Unlike cardio exercises which help you burn calories during exercise, weight training helps you burn calories even after the exercise is complete (ACE Fitness Organization). After finishing your weight training your muscles are repairing themselves resulting in an increase in your metabolism well after you finish your exercises. It also helps ward off osteoporosis.
In summary, both cardio and weight training exercises are good for a balanced fitness program. Participating in both types of exercise along with adopting a healthy diet and lifestyle are a great way to make the most of your decision to exercise.