Life is busy – we know that, so it’s important that we all get the most out of our workouts. A hotly debated topic in the fitness world is whether we should concentrate on cardiovascular fitness or strength training during our workouts.
We’ve checked the research and the benefits of both to bring you the low-down on the ultimate gym dual!
If you want to lean out a bit
When it comes to burning calories, you’ll generally burn more during cardio exercise as you elevate your heart rate higher and for longer. That's why it's an important part of your routine, especially if you're trying to reduce your body fat levels. Low intensity cardio can also help along your bodies ability to recover quicker as it can help flush lactic acid and can send oxygenated blood to muscles and improve circulation. These things help promote your body to recover so you're ready to smash your next workout!
However strength training can allow you to burn calories for longer, so even after you've finished you'll still be torching fat as your body works to recover your muscles. Studies have also shown that strength training can improve your resting metabolic rate so you burn more calories not only when you workout, but also when at rest. Strength training also creates muscle growth which will help you achieve a leaner, defined, stronger physique that is more efficient at burning fat.
If you want to improve your overall health and fitness
Cardio is great for keeping your heart healthy and getting fit. Want to ramp up your fitness even more? Then try some HIIT training. A scientific study showed that it significantly increases VO2 max levels (the measure of the maximum amount of oxygen a person can use).
If you're injured
Light cardio, for example, swimming is a great rehabilitation exercise because it doesn't put too much stress on your body.
If you're injured then throwing yourself into strength training may not be the first thing on your mind. However it can make your ligaments and tendons stronger, making you less prone to strains and tears, so something to consider when you're recovered.
If you want to combat stress
Any form of exercise can help you zone out or alternatively channel your aggression in a beneficial way! Research is limited around the benefits of strength training to reduce stress and anxiety but studies have continually proven that cardio exercise can help alleviate stress due to its ability to moderate the brains response reaction to stress. Check out more info here.
If you want to get happier
Anything that gets you moving and your heart pumping makes you happy due to the increase in serotonin levels in the brain - so take your pick!
When it comes to working out, the routine that will give you the greatest benefits to your body, health and fitness is a balance of both strength and cardio and one you love and will stick at! Try a split of 3 strength training sessions and 2 cardio focused workouts during the week.
Remember that weight training doesn't have to mean lugging heavy dumbbells around the gym, body weight training can be just as effective and cardio doesn't have to mean spending hours plodding on a treadmill - a HIIT sessions can be completed in just 20 minutes!