This is the year that you´re going to get in the best shape of your adult life. You´ve purchased some stylish workout outfits when you hit a slight snag. What kind of shoes do you need? Should you get a good pair of running shoes or workout shoes for the gym?
The shoe question brings up the argument of which is better, cardio or strength training? The answer really depends on your goals.
Are you wanting to sign up for a race? It´s a simple answer then. Want to bulk up? Again, a simple answer. But what if you´re looking at overall health and wellbeing and are more concerned about functional strength and heart health?
Then you need a comprehensive approach that covers both functional strength with cardiovascular health.
Here are some of the benefits of a combined training program:
Strength training induces a powerful metabolic effect. As muscle develops and becomes more metabolically active, they contribute to a leaner physique. The increased muscle makes the body more efficient at burning calories. The burning of calories continues after the workout through a process called excess post exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), or the “afterburn effect” for short.
The calorie-burning nature of cardio, especially when sustained over a more extended period (zone 2), aids in weight management and fat loss as well.
The benefit of both will be seen when you are running on the beach looking totally ripped.
Where cardio outshines strength training is in its affect on heart health. Engaging in cardio activities will strengthen the cardiac muscles, improve blood circulation, and enhance the efficiency with which oxygen is delivered throughout the body.
Cardio also places a premium on respiratory function. Activities that elevate the heart rate strengthen the respiratory muscles, increase lung capacity, and improves oxygen exchange efficiency.
Both cardio and strength training offer mental health benefits. The release of endorphins contribute to improved mood, reduced stress levels and enhanced mental clarity. Mindfulness is an active part of proper training and manifests differently in that for cardio it can be more about the mind, body, and environment, while in strength training the focus is on the mind/muscle connection.
There is a positive affect on bone density when performing load-bearing (weight-bearing) exercises. While cardio offers an aspect of load bearing, it does not offer the same level of benefits that strength training can. An added benefit being the progressive nature of strength training supports joint health by enhancing the stability and resilience of connective tissues.
Finally, strength training isn´t just about lifting heavy weights, it´s about building functional strength which translates into improved daily living – especially as we age. Increased functional strength also reduces the risk of injury.
So which is better? I´ll sum it up like this, cardio is good for the heart and lungs. Strength training is good for everything else. Combined, it´s a win-win!
Why focus on just one area and limit the impact of your training. A combined approach that incorporates aspects of cardiovascular training with strength training offers so much more to ones health and wellness.
Perhaps it time to hire a certified personal trainer to design the perfect program for you and help you choose the right kind of training shoes. Don´t leave it up to chance. Make 2024 the year you make it happen.
For more information about the design and benefits of a personalized training program you can contact me: