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Cardio Workouts vs Resistance Training

Updated on January 28, 2013
Zumba | Source

What is Cardio?

Cardio is short for Cardiovascular which means "relating to, or involving the heart and the blood vessels"(1). Cardio workouts are designed to get your blood pumping and your heart beating faster. Typical cardio workouts are running, aerobics, dancing, or fast walking.

Benefits to cardio workouts:

  • makes your heart stronger
  • strengthens your lung capacity & lungs
  • boosts your metabolism which helps you lose weight
  • helps you relax
  • releases pent up energy which may help you sleep better

Due to the benefits of cardio workouts, doctors typically recommend cardio workouts for weight loss. However there is a dark side to cardio.

Drawbacks to Cardio:

  • Muscle mass doesn't always increase and may decrease
  • Metabolism increase during exercise doesn't last long afterwards so you need to do more cardio to continue to burn calories
  • As our bodies get used to the workout they become less effective

Due to these drawbacks, people don't always see results when trying to lose weight using cardio. I've seen my mom do endless hours on her stairmaster while not losing any weight. I didn't know it at the time but her body was getting used to her workout and they were becoming ineffective.

What is Resistance Training

Resistance training is another name for strength training or weight training. The goal of resistance training is to increase your muscle mass. You can do this by using weights, body weights, machines, or kettlebells.

"If you don't use it your lose it" is the theme song for people that know the secrets of resistance training. They are aware that when we don't use our muscles they shrink and get weaker. When this happens, our metabolism slows down and we gain weight.

Resistance Training Benefits:

  • Increased in muscle mass
  • Increase in bone density
  • Increase in metabolism over prolonged period of time and through out muscle rebuilding period
  • Increase in strength
  • Increase in mobility

Drawbacks to Resistance Training:

  • Risk of injury while exercising
  • May not provide enough cardio to improve heart function

Myths of Resistance Training:

  • Is just for weight lifters
  • Bulks up women's muscles

Which one is better - Cardio or Resistence Training?

If you haven't figured it out yet, both are very important for a healthy body. We need to have cardio to work our heart muscles and help our lungs get a workout. Yet we also need resistence training to build our muscles, keep our metabolism revved up, and keep us agile..

The good news is that many workouts are designed to target both. Fit Yummy Mummy is a great program geared for women while Turbulence Training is a tough program for men. You can find more information about these and other workout ideas at Losing Weight After Baby.

What's Your Favorite Workout?

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    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 

      8 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      A good fitness regimen incorporates cardio, strength training and flexibility activities. There are many exercises for each type and each person must choose what is appropriate for them. A Physician or a fitness expert can help you with that. But what's most important is that you do exercises that you enjoy. Moreover, alternate exercises to allow your body to rest.

      Great discussion on cardio and strength training.


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