Should you perform weights or cardio as an exercise modality?
An age old question that can leave many of us scratching our heads as to where to start, how much and why we might even perform these tasks to start with.
Let me help out.
First we must understand the benefits of each form of training because they can differ vastly!
Cardiovascular exercise generally relies on your aerobic system, that is you require air, breathing regularly to complete the activities!
Cardio exercises are rhythmical, that involve keeping a elevated heart rate for an extended period of time!
Common examples of cardio-based exercises involve going for a walk, running / sprinting, bike riding, swimming.
While each movement has a specific substrate of benefits that come with it, overall there are some key benefits involved with cardiovascular exercise.
These benefits include:
- Improving your VO2 Max – this is a measure of how your heart pumps blood through your body to the cells – the higher = the better your fitness is!
- Improving mitochondrial abilities of your cell – these are energy producing cells within the body
- Improves overall efficiency of your cardiovascular system e.g. lower resting heart rate, cholesterol, blood pressure
Weight / Resistance Exercise:
On the other side of the coin we have weighted or resistance based exercise.
These movements still involve the aerobic system but also rely on our anaerobic system (quick energy producing system).
Typical weighted exercises may involve lifting weights for a desired repetition range such as 10 repetitions before stopping and resting and then recommencing.
This style of training generally relies on external forces to place your body under stress! These forces may include weights and gravity.
Overall through regularly engaging with resistance based exercise you can expect to see some of the following benefits:
- Increasing skeletal muscle mass
- Improving bone density – great for preventing osteopenia / osteoporosis
- Developing tendon health and longevity – this can prevent pain and improve movement quality
- Improve nervous system efficiency leading to gains such as higher strength – enabling you to push, pull and carry objects easier!
- Can prevent injuries through improving the coordination of your musculoskeletal system, the adaptability and strength overall.
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Now that we have a backstory behind the benefits, the question remains which is for you?
First and foremost, have a clear understanding of your goal. This will dictate how much of each you will perform.
The truth is you require both for healthy living. Your goal might be more specific than that though, perhaps you wish to participate in a body building competition – here I would implore you to utilise both, but heavily focus on the strengthening / weighted aspects of training. Marathon runner? Again utilise both methods but shift your attention towards the cardiovascular components of training.
Life requires balance.
- Start with a goal – I have shown you how through a blog linked HERE.
2. Check out the current physical activity guidelines HERE. This will point you in the right direction for how much you require.
3. Start working towards your goal! Develop your plan whilst setting goals and aim for high adherence over a long period of time. This will lead you to success in your goal!
I must mention my bias is primarily towards weights, throughout my life I have engaged extensively with both forms of training and my personal preference is with weights. This however does not impact my statement that we require both!