Although there are several opinions around what type of exercise is best to achieve a physical (e.g. weight loss) or performance (faster time for 5k run) results, variances in your active routine result in a more balanced body. Both cardio and strength training can play crucial roles in achieving these goals.
Cardio training–running, cycling, a Zumba class–offers many physiological benefits, the most important being increased strength of your heart and lungs. This allows you to perform more intense levels of exercise, and will prepare your body for more efficient strength training sessions.
Cardio also improves your endurance, increases bone density and circulation, reduces anxiety, and increases energy levels, all of which help improve your overall health.
Strength Training Benefits
Strength training essentially helps build muscle mass, and strengthens your bones by subjecting them to increased resistance loads. This means that your overall strength and movement ability improve while your muscles tone up for better definition. When you build muscle, you also increase your body’s ability to burn more calories more efficiently, even when in a resting state.
Ideal Training Methods
Cardio training has often been shown to be more effective for weight loss, as studies have shown that it burns more calories per minute. However, this can vary from person to person, as some body types tend to have a harder time getting rid of fat tissue, in which case both strength training and cardio are necessary for desired results.
In fact, recent studies found that a healthy and balanced combination of resistance weight training and cardio training offer the best solution for reducing body fat and increasing lean muscle mass.
However, it’s best to keep in mind that this healthy balance can vary from one person to another, so it may take some experimenting and trials to see what works best for you. It’s a good idea to start with an hour of strength training a few days a week, alongside 30 minutes of light to moderate intensity cardio three days a week. Notice how you recover, and what differences or results you notice in a matter of two weeks. After about a month of your routine, see what you benefit from, and what you would like to alter in order to achieve your personal goals. And of course – remember to stay flexible by attending yoga classes or maintaining a personal yoga practice!
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