Cardio bunny or body builder?

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The rivalry between cardio training and weightlifting is ever-present between gym goers and fitness fanatics. The big, burly men can be seen showing off their impeccable masculinity with the free weights amidst calls of, “Do you even lift bro?”, whilst lycre-clad, skinny athletes are often seen jogging around the Town Moor. However, what is the real difference between cardio workouts and weightlifting and is one better than the other?

Cardio is short for cardiovascular and is exercise that improves the body’s circulatory system. Running and cycling are two obvious examples but it can include activities such as dancing or even walking too. On the other hand, weightlifting focuses on strength training in which athletes normally perform a series of muscle contractions to increase strength and boost anaerobic endurance. Clearly, weight training is the most well-known example but hobbies, such as pilates and yoga, use a person’s own body weight instead of the weights found in a gym to serve the same effect.

The two different forms of exercise are often seen as existing in two completely different worlds where people must choose one or the other. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. A healthy workout routine should include both cardio and weight-based exercises and this is why:

“A healthy workout routine should incude both cardio and weight-based exercises”

Weight Loss –  When it comes to burning fat or simply maintaining a weight, cardio has the advantage over weights. Cardio allows the heart rate to remain higher for a longer period of time and, therefore, more calories are burnt. However, if weights-based training is tailored to serve this effect, such as shorter rest periods, it can also serve as a positive for burning fat.

Building Muscle – Cardio can help boost muscle mass and strength but, can also hinder muscle growth if performed too frequently at too high an intensity. It is important for everyone to undertake some sort of weight training to achieve top fitness. That said, as previously mentioned, this doesn’t have to be weightlifting in the gym. Simple activities such as squats, lunges and push-ups all fall into this category.

Long Term Health – With the great benefits that cardio provides for the health of the heart and circulatory system it also helps to increase life expectancy. With regular cardiovascular activity the likelihood of developing illnesses such as obesity, heart disease and type 2 diabetes is lowered. Again, strength training can also play a crucial role in future health. Bone and muscle loss are problems faced by many of the elderly but with regular, sensible weight-based training from a young age these problems can also be, to an extent, curbed.

“It is important for everyone to undertake some sort of weight training to achieve top fitness”

So, which is better, cardiovascular activity or weight training? Unfortunately, as much as one side would love the upper hand over the other, both are vital. This is not to say that an exact 50/50 balance between the two is necessary but everyone should try and change-up their routine from time to time to ensure maximum health benefits!

Weight Loss –  When it comes to burning fat or simply maintaining a weight, cardio has the advantage over weights. Cardio allows the heart rate to remain higher for a longer period of time and, therefore, more calories are burnt. However, if weights-based training is tailored to serve this effect, such as shorter rest periods, it can also serve as a positive for burning fat.

Building Muscle – Cardio can help boost muscle mass and strength but, can also hinder muscle growth if performed too frequently at too high an intensity. It is important for everyone to undertake some sort of weight training to achieve top fitness. That said, as previously mentioned, this doesn’t have to be weightlifting in the gym. Simple activities such as squats, lunges and push-ups all fall into this category.

Long Term Health – With the great benefits that cardio provides for the health of the heart and circulatory system it also helps to increase life expectancy. With regular cardiovascular activity the likelihood of developing illnesses such as obesity, heart disease and type 2 diabetes is lowered. Again, strength training can also play a crucial role in future health. Bone and muscle loss are problems faced by many of the elderly but with regular, sensible weight-based training from a young age these problems can also be, to an extent, curbed.

So, which is better, cardiovascular activity or weight training? Unfortunately, as much as one side would love the upper hand over the other, both are vital. This is not to say that an exact 50/50 balance between the two is necessary but everyone should try and change-up their routine from time to time to ensure maximum health benefits!

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