Weights or Cardio?

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Cardio vs weights trainingCardiovascular exercise, also known as "cardio" or "aerobic" exercise, is any physical activity that raises your heart rate and makes you sweat.

It is generally recommended that one performs a minimum of 30 minutes of cardio exercise at least 3 to 5 times a week.  There are many different types of cardio exercise, some common examples include jogging, cycling, swimming, or even brisk walking. Some high impact activity like skipping and aerobics are both cardio and weight bearing at the same time.

By engaging in cardio exercise regularly you are giving your body a good workout thus potentially improving both the function and performance of some of the most vital organs in your body, like your heart, lungs and circulatory system.

Such exercise has also been known to help in the lowering of one's blood pressure and cholesterol.

Whilst cardio is most beneficial for your heart, one should also not neglect strength or resistance training like lifting weights as this would benefit your bones and joints, improve your balance (thereby reducing the likelihood of falls and fractures) and keep osteoporosis at bay. Working with weights will help you tone up your muscles and lose fat thus resulting in a slimmer looking body.  An added benefit, which is often forgotten, is that having more muscles also helps you burn more calories.

Which is better for you largely depends on your goals. If you’re training for a marathon, you might want to start with cardio. One of the benefits of this is that you are less likely to have injuries during strength training when your muscles are already warmed up.  If on the other hand, your focus is more on strength training, then you might want to start with weights.

All exercise is beneficial to your brain and regular exercise has been shown to reduce one's risk of getting Alzheimer's disease or dementia.

While you can do the cardio on a daily basis, it is advised that one gets a 48 hour break between the workouts that involve strength training.  This is because you sometimes u get small tears in your muscles when  lifting weights and it would be good to allow your body some time to recover before you train again.

When embarking in strength training especially if you are new to it, do make sure that you progress slowly and steadily as you would want to reduce your chances of injury. Be careful not to jerk the weights or to use too much force. Consider employing a personal trainer to set you on the right track.

Further Reading

The article above is meant to provide general information and does not replace a doctor's consultation.
Please see your doctor for professional advice.