Doing Aerobics Alone Isn’t Good Enough. Why?

Doing-AerobicsWhich training approach has more health benefits, aerobics or weight training? Both will improve your health and fitness, but each has unique benefits and limitations.

Cardio, also known as aerobic exercise, is any activity that forces your body to increase your rate of breathing as your large muscle groups are used in regular and repeated motions. Walking, running and cycling are simple examples.

Large muscles groups require more blood flow and oxygen requiring your cardiovascular system (your heart and lungs) to work harder and become stronger.

The popularity of aerobics (cardio training) stems from its fat burning potential. Moving those muscles as you swim, bike or run requires burning body fat as fuel. The longer you exercise, the more calories you burn…up to a point.

One limitation of cardio training is that the fat burning diminishes over time. As an example, the more you run, the more fit (and efficient) you become, meaning each time you run, you will burn fewer calories. Additionally, over time you will lose both fat and muscle simultaneously. Diminishing returns and muscle wasting are the two main reasons you should combine both cardio and resistance training.

While cardio improves cardiorespiratory fitness and burns fat, weightlifting or resistance training develops muscle mass and strength using primarily carbohydrates as fuel. Resistance training involves a process known as progressive overload, gradually increasing the weights used to increase resistance to stimulate the growth of new muscle. As an example, when using a 10 pound dumbbell for curls, once you are able to complete 10-15 repetitions easily, increase the weight (load) to stimulate muscle growth.

If your goal is a lean, muscular (or shapely) body, include weightlifting in your training as it promotes lean muscle. As a bonus, lean muscle burns more calories than fat and is then responsible for increasing the rate of metabolism in your body. With a faster metabolism you will be capable of burning fat all through the day.

The best approach to overall health and fitness is a balance of cardio and resistance training. This is especially true after age 30 or 40. After age 30, your metabolism begins to slow and you begin to store more fat around your middle. As you continue to age, bone, muscle mass and flexibility begin to deteriorate. Exercise, both cardio and weight training can slow the aging process and maintain fitness and health.

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