You are running late to the gym and you only have 30 minutes to spare. Do you jump on the treadmill or head to the free weights? Is it better to run a few miles or pump out a few reps? This represents one of the greatest misconceptions in the health and wellness industry: cardio vs. weight training. Both have clear benefits, but is one better than the other? We have compiled a few key differences below to help you decide
Cardio vs. weight training
- Weight training helps combat sarcopenia, the age-related loss of muscle and strength, as well as the scientific evidence of reversing osteoporosis
- Weight training protects against age-related injuries including slips and falls, especially when the lower body is strengthened to protect against hip injuries.
- Weight training provides the strength and functionality that allows you independence in everyday activities, joint pain relief, and even improved blood sugar control.
- Cardio alone does not offer the weight bearing aspects to accomplish the aforementioned
- Weight training keeps the metabolism firing for up to 36 hours after the workout in an attempt to return to the internal core temperature to its normal operating state, therefore having a greater fat-burning potential.
- Muscle is very active in the sense that it physically burns calories all day long, even while you’re not active. As you increase lean muscle mass through weight training, you also increase your metabolic rate (metabolism)
- Unless you are sprinting at great speeds for distance, steady-state cardio only burns calories while you’re actually doing it.
Muscular and strength benefits
- Weight training provides the most effective method to “reshape” your body.
- You can prevent injury by strengthening your body and bones unlike running, which is repetitive, high impact, and can commonly cause muscle and joint issues
- Weight training contributes more to core and functional strength than running does.
So which is better? Weight training certainly has its perks, but the ideal program utilizes both weight training and cardio to create lasting, well-rounded results. Cardio helps supplement weight training by improving your body’s ability to fuel your muscles with more energy when it needs it the most. Both can improve brain function, heart health, and regulate physiological processes.
Lastly, regardless of which one you choose, it is always imperative that you properly warm up, cool down, and eat well..
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