What’s better: cardio or strength training?

A comparison of the two main types of physical exercise. You walk into the gym for an hour of exercise. Do you head to the treadmill or the free weights? Do you work on your heart, or your muscles?

CARDIOVASCULAR EXERCISE is activity that raises your heart rate, like walking, running, biking, swimming, rowing or aerobic workouts.

Cardiovascular exercise can help you:

  • Strengthen your heart and keep your arteries clear.

  • Control your weight.

  • Increase energy levels and boost your mood.

  • Prevent illness and reduce health risks.

  • Manage conditions like high blood pressure and blood sugar.

Adding intervals to a cardio workout — for example, running or walking faster for one minute and then resuming your normal pace — is a good way to burn calories and build endurance.

STRENGTH TRAINING is exercise that uses resistance or weights to induce muscle contractions. This builds the strength, anaerobic endurance and size of skeletal muscles. Strength-training activities are not sustained over a period of time; instead, they use short bursts of effort. Strength training activities can include weightlifting, resistance band training, yoga and calisthenics.

With strength training, you can:

  • Develop stronger muscles and bones.

  • Control your weight.

  • Increase energy levels and boost your mood.

  • Manage conditions like back pain, arthritis, obesity, heart disease and diabetes.

  • Sharpen your focus.

It’s important to note that strength training does not make women “bulky.” Women don’t have the levels of testosterone required to develop huge muscles. Another advantage — it can help you avoid the effects of osteoporosis!

Which is better?

BOTH ARE IMPORTANT! A mix of strength and cardio is the ideal exercise combination to help burn calories and stay in shape. Remember though, if you are trying to lose weight, what you eat is just as important. Aim for a few cardio sessions per week (about three), and a few strength-training sessions (two to three).

The road to good health is yours to travel. But you don't have to do it alone. Whether you're managing a health condition or making changes in your life like quitting bad habits or getting in shape - we can help. Check out our new classes and resources below. Contact us to set personalized health and wellness goals and learn about the programs available to you.

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