Is Strength Training Or Cardio A Better Workout For You?

Exercise is good for you. According to Mayo Clinic, exercise controls weight, prevents health conditions and diseases like high blood pressure and depression, improves your mood, and boosts your energy, among others. We know adding regular activity into our daily routine is beneficial for our physical and mental health.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says all adults need two types of physical activity every week to improve their health-aerobic activity and strengthen their muscles. These guidelines recommend getting at least 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity or cardio and at least two strength training exercises using your body weight, free weights, or machines to boost your health every week. We know both forms of exercise are essential for your well-being, and you should be doing both, but which one is better for you?

The answer lies in what your goals are. Are you trying to improve your endurance, heart health, or are you trying to lose fat and get toner? The bottom line is both help to achieve all goals; one might be more helpful for a specific plan than the other. Both forms of exercise will help you burn fat, and both have their own set of benefits.

Cardio improves your heart and overall health

The benefits of cardio are just in the name of the workout; it helps your cardiovascular health. According to Women's Health, one of the main benefits of adding cardio to your activity is how it improves your heart health and your ability to keep going. Aerobic exercises like running makes the heart pump oxygen more efficiently throughout your body which is why the more you run, the easier it gets, and the better you become at it.

Cardio helps boost brain power and strengthens your cognitive performance to stay sharp. A study published in the Journal of Gerontology says that people who do regular cardio show a significant reduction in the loss of brain tissue over time compared to those who do not workout. Another benefit of cardio is that it helps lower blood pressure. Healthline says that regular cardio can help manage your symptoms of high blood pressure and keep it regulated.

A cardio workout also causes a change in white blood cells (WBCs) that are our body's immune system to fight diseases. Medline Plus encourages people to do cardio because their WBCs will circulate more quickly and help you detect diseases earlier so you can treat them before it gets worse. Does this convince you to take up running or add other forms of cardio such as swimming or cycling to help your routine?

Strength training makes you more toned and stronger

Strength training is also known as weight training and resistance training, and will help you get stronger overall.

While cardio is excellent for you, if you are looking to get toner, you need to also do some strength training workouts. According to Women's Health, strength training helps you build and sculpt your muscles resulting in a toner body. When you make your muscles do resistance work, it breaks the muscle tissues and helps them grow back stronger and leaner. So basically, those who do strength training have more increased muscle mass that improves their metabolism to burn more calories. Exercise physiologist Dr. Leigh Breen told the publication, "Muscle is more metabolically active than fat, so the more you gain, the more calories you'll burn — and the more likely you are to keep fat off." Healthline also shared that it is associated with decreased abdominal and total body fat, as proven by many studies. And, you look leaner with less body fat.

In addition, if you want to improve your balance and coordination, you need to start strength training. According to Health Sport, as you get older, you are more prone to falling and a slower recovery, so strength training improves your posture and strengthens muscles to keep you more balanced and coordinated — leading to fewer accidents. So, who's ready to do some squats and push-ups now? To stay healthy and strong, it is best to add both strength training and cardio into your lifestyle.