There is an ongoing debate in the fitness world over whether it is better to lift weights or do cardio exercises. There are passionate proponents on both sides of the debate.
In truth, there are benefits to both cardio and weights, and the best choice for you will depend on your preferences, fitness goals, and health and strength levels. Let’s look at each in more detail.
Cardio: The Pros
Cardio, or cardiovascular exercise, refers to exercise that raises your heart rate. It has a number of benefits, including:
- You have a range of options. One of the perks of cardio is that you can choose from a range of fun activities to meet your daily goals. Running, playing sports, hiking, swimming, dancing, and cycling all count as cardio workouts.
- You can save time. You can also pack your workout into a shorter time frame by using high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts. These offer the same benefits in a shorter time.
- You help your entire body. Cardio helps to strengthen the heart and organs, and is great for boosting overall fitness.
Cardio: The Cons
As with any form of exercise, there are also disadvantages to cardio, and it’s important to be aware of these.
- Cardio doesn’t build muscle. While aerobic and cardio activities will help you to stay in shape, you cannot build muscle through cardio alone.
- Don’t overdo it. You need to go easy on cardio, as going too hard can cause serious injuries and long-term problems
Weightlifting: The Pros
Lifting weights is another great way to workout and has grown in popularity in recent years, with both at home and gym workouts available even to new lifters. Some of the main advantages of lifting weights include:
- Gain muscle. Lifting weights uses the fat stores in your body to increase the size of your muscles, helping you to grow strong and lean.
- Everyday benefits. Being stronger will also help you in daily life, as you can tackle everyday chores with greater ease and flexibility, reducing your risk of injury.
- Boost bone health. As well as building muscles, lifting weights on a regular basis also helps strengthen your bones, reducing your risk of fractures, breaks, and injury.
- Reduce stress. Lifting weights is also a great way to reduce stress at the end of a long, tough day.
Weightlifting: The Cons
It is important to be aware of the downsides of lifting weights, which can include:
- A need for precision. Succeeding with weightlifting requires maintaining excellent form throughout the duration of your workouts. You may need a trainer to help ensure you’re lifting with good form.
- Risk of injury. The heavier your weights, the greater your risk of injury.
- Burn fewer calories. Compared to aerobic exercise, you burn less calories when you lift weights.
Ultimately, a good exercise regime will incorporate both weights and cardio evenly. This is the ideal combination to help you achieve the best possible results, and train your body to be strong, fit, and lean.
Make sure that you’re mixing up your workouts to keep your body challenged and ensure you continue to enjoy gains.
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