Contributed by: Anjali Sharma
Cardio was considered to be the best exercise for weight loss for many years. When it came to boosting your metabolism and raising your resting metabolic rate, strength training quickly gained popularity.
But excessive cardio training also has been said to affect your heart health adversely. So is it recommended to entirely be dependent on one type of exercise regimen if you are planning weight loss? Or should a combination of cardio and strength training be adopted?
Over the years many fitness experts have researched and practised various types of exercises that work effectively for weight loss and muscle building.
Here we are going to explain the difference between cardio and strength training and how they are best for different individuals, putting a lot of those speculations to rest.
The difference between cardio and strength training
Strength training and cardio are obviously two different types of exercise, but what happens within your body is what actually differentiates them.
Strength or weight training is an anaerobic exercise, often known as strength training, weight training, or resistance training. This involves using weights or lifting free weights like barbells, dumbbells, and kettlebells.
Unlike cardio, anaerobic activities use the breakdown of glucose for energy instead of oxygen. More energy is used more quickly.
Cardio, which stands for ‘cardiovascular conditioning,’ is an aerobic workout that speeds up your breathing and heart rate by using oxygen.
Running is perhaps the most divisive exercise in the cardio category, but any activity that makes you breathe more quickly and forcefully and raises your heart rate qualifies.
You can get moving if you’re a cardio person by doing things like jogging, cycling, swimming, or even taking a Zumba class, to name a few
What are the best cardio exercises and strength training?
Some of the most common cardio exercises are:
- Brisk walking
- Rowing, and cross-country skiing.
- Cardio machines
- Elliptical trainer
- Stationary cycle
- Stepping machine
- Rowing machine
- Ski trainer
Some of the most common strength training exercises are:
- Bicep curl
- Leg extension
- Leg curl
- Chest press
- Lateral raise
- Reverse lunge
How often should you do cardio or weights for weight loss?
Less than 150 minutes per week of moderate to strenuous physical activity, such as cardio, is generally considered by the health and fitness experts as being insufficient for weight loss.
However, they claim that for most people, more than 150 minutes of this kind of physical exercise each week is adequate to aid in weight loss.
Additionally, studies demonstrate that individuals tend to lose more body weight when they engage in higher amounts of physical exercise.
Therefore, if you just choose one cardio activity, your weekly plan can be like this:
- 2-4 times a week for weight training
- Cardio with low intensity: 5-7 times per week
- Cardio at moderate intensity: 3–4 times a week
- Cardio with high intensity: 1-3 times per week
Is too much cardio bad for your heart health?
Chronic cardio has been linked to the formation of plaque, artery stiffening, and potentially heart malfunction.
Chronic cardio is a long-duration, repetitive cardiovascular training that exceeds the aerobic point and increases heart rate up to 80 to 85 per cent.
This was discovered in a study of arduous runners competing in triathlons and ultramarathons. Numerous of these endurance athletes have cardiac (heart) problems, one of which was a weak right ventricle.
The conclusion reached was that prolonged, intensive cardio can be harmful to the way our hearts operate, creating considerable physical stress when pushing them too hard through demanding endurance training, even if recovery was seen a week after their races.
Is cardio more effective than strength training for weight loss?
Both cardio and weightlifting have advantages and disadvantages, and different people will get different outcomes from them.
There is proof that weightlifting burns calories and produces longer-lasting effects. However, a person’s objectives, level of physical fitness, and ability ultimately determine the best kind of exercise for them.
The majority of fitness experts advise combining the two for general fitness and wellness.
When compared to aerobics, lifting weights often results in higher EPOC (Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption) levels and more muscle breakdown. This implies that even after a weightlifting session is over, the body continues to burn calories.
Cardio and weight training may both make you fitter and healthier.
Calories are burned more efficiently by aerobic exercises than by weightlifting.
However, lifting weights as compared to cardio training is better for muscle growth. But on the other hand your metabolism may remain raised for longer after weights than after cardio.
Therefore, an exercise regime that combines both aerobic and weight training is optimal for enhancing health and body composition. To accomplish both is ideal.
As an add-on, make a habit of taking preventive health checkups as they can help you in getting a complete insight into your health. This will also help you with taking measures to promote your overall well-being.