Is Cardio Enough Exercise? Go Beyond Cardio | The Arena Club
The science and information about both cardio and strength training can be confusing, overwhelming and certainly ever-changing. One study will report that you should be doing a particular exercise or diet, and then the next week a study comes out that this is the worst thing you could possibly do! The bottom line is that both cardio and strength training should be seen as a partnership to your overall health and should be a part of every good exercise program design.
The truth is, cardio is a necessity to any exercise program. Whether it is running, riding a bike, or even walking your dog, cardiovascular activity has tremendous benefits to our health. It has been shown to be a great reducer to the risk of obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, type-2 diabetes, and cancer. There’s no secret that cardio burns calories, which ultimately means less body fat and that coveted lower number on the scale.
So if cardio is so great, why are you still struggling to reach your fitness goals?
Whenever we do a certain activity, such as exercise, for a length of time our bodies eventually adapt and program our muscles to remember these activities. These activities become easier to perform, resulting in less calories burned and halting our fitness progress. Cardio strengthens the heart, when our heart is strong, it works less, and when it works less we burn less calories. We become so conditioned that our bodies stop being challenged and as a result stop changing. This is when strength training can be so beneficial because what cardiovascular exercise lacks strength training fills the void.
Let’s be honest, the weight area of a gym can be very intimidating, especially for those just beginning an exercise program. Many of us find this area to be intimidating because we simply don’t know what to do. Women, especially, are afraid of getting bulky or big. This does not happen by accident, it takes a lot of work including a poor diet and a lot of testosterone, something women just don’t have.
Research has shown that a good strength program can improve sleep, increase our balance, develop stronger bones, reduce the risk of arthritis and injury, and for many of us, most importantly, increase lean muscle mass which burns more calories resulting in losing weight more efficiently. A pound of lean muscle could potentially burn anywhere between 5 and 35 calories while at rest! It is very difficult to determine how many calories we each actually burn at rest due to the many factors that go into that number, however, one thing has been proven true; when you strength train, you essentially break down muscle tissue, and in order for the body to repair this muscle tissue it takes energy. The more lean muscle mass you can develop (both men and women), the more energy it takes for the body to repair itself thus the more calories you will burn while at rest.
According to the American College of Sports Medicine, Adults who do not strength train lose, on average 4 to 6 pounds of muscle tissue per decade, resulting in a lower resting metabolic rate and more fat storage.
Obviously performing cardio and strength training separately each have their benefits. Now imagine how beneficial it would be if you combined the two! And if you’re confused as to where to start and how to begin incorporating both cardio and strength training into your weekly routine ask an educated professional such as a Personal Trainer.
A simple program could consist of strength training 2-3 days per week with 1 set of 8-12 exercises focusing on all major muscle groups for 8-12 reps and 2- 3 days of a good cardio workout. Feel free to do your strength training and cardio on the same day or for those whose schedule allow it alternate days. If you find yourself with such limited time, like most of us, try programs such as circuits or with limited rest periods in between sets allowing you to keep your heart rate up, giving you a cardio workout at the same time you are strength training.
With a little patience, dedication, and a good balance between cardio and strength training, attaining your goals will become more realistic and results will be achieved more efficiently.