Weight-lifting vs. cardiovascular exercise – by MD. Thordis Berger
A frequent question is whether to concentrate on aerobic exercise (cardio) or weight training and resistance exercise; which one is better? Is one superior to the other, or are they equal?
Cardio and Weight loss
When it comes to weight loss, cardio is probably the style of exercise that comes to mind. It’s the form of exercise that typically involves moving through space: think running, walking, skiing, swimming, etc. Any activity—from playing basketball, to playing golf, to dancing—tends to involve primarily aerobic exercise.
The main advantage of aerobic exercise at moderate intensities is that you can do it continuously for a quite long period. This non-stop movement tends to burn more calories during an exercise session than strength training does.
Weight training and Weight loss
Resistance exercise is another basic form of exercise. It involves working the muscles against some form of resistance, whether it’s the weight of iron, or the elasticity of rubber bands. Weight lifting is a classic form of resistance exercise. It can be done while remaining stationary, and is typically performed specifically to build or maintain muscle mass.
How many calories you burn during a strength workout will depend on the intensity of the exercise.
For example, lifting heavy weights and lifting weights in a fast, circuit-style fashion with little to no rest will generally burn more calories than lifting lighter weights at slow, steady pace, or prioritizing isolation exercises (ex. bicep curls,).
However, resistance exercise tends to burn more calories after an exercise session.
Strength training leads to greater muscle growth, and the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn at rest. Muscle has a higher metabolic rate than fat so having more muscle raises your resting metabolic rate (energy expenditure) a little compared to having more body fat.
Other health benefits
As far as other health benefits, cardio exercise is a great way to lower blood pressure and bad cholesterol (LDL), and reduce your risk of certain conditions, including type 2 diabetes, among others.
Meanwhile, lifting weights is one of the best ways to keep your bones strong, and will prevent sarcopenia, or loss of muscle mass as you age.
In summary, both forms of exercise, weight-lifting and cardiovascular exercise provide numerous benefits, and everyone (no matter what their age, sex, or fitness goals) should do both on a regular basis. actually, the combination of these two forms of exercise that’s best for overall disease risk reduction.
The standard advice is to do cardio and strength workouts in separate sessions or on alternate days. But combining cardio and strength workouts in one session is also an option.
There have been studies and debate over whether to do cardio first, followed by strength training, or vice versa. There isn't conclusive evidence for an advantage of one sequence over another, whether your goal is aerobic fitness, fat loss, muscle hypertrophy, or gaining lower body strength
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