With so much information around regarding exercise, diet and weight loss, it’s no wonder so many people are confused and overwhelmed when it comes to knowing what kind of exercise they should do – cardio or lifting weights.
Benefits of lifting weights
Strength training has many benefits including assisting with weight loss.
Strength training uses the muscular system. What does this mean? When you lift relatively heavy weights, tiny tears appear in the muscle cells. As they repair the muscle gets bigger and stronger.
I meet a lot of women who still believe that lifting weights is for men only and only women who want to bulk up do weights. I used to get lots of people who would tell me they want to lose weight but not bulk up, so they are surprised when I get them to do weights for some of the session.
Lifting weights does not equate bulk. Women are not built to gain muscle size the way men are.
Lifting heavy weights also loads the Skeletal system. This helps improve bone density which in turn reduces the risk of fractures and broken bones.
There are many other benefits to lifting weights: it helps control sugar levels, improves your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) ie. your metabolism at rest which means you burn more calories all day long than you would if you weren’t building muscle! Increases energy levels and increases strength, and let’s face it, who doesn’t want to be stronger?!
“Cardio” or aerobic exercise uses the Cardiovascular system. Benefits of cardio include healthier and stronger heart and lungs, burns calories and helps improve endurance during exercise.
Exercise, whether it’s weight training or cardio, releases endorphins. This helps naturally reduce stress and anxiety.
So how do you choose what kind of exercise you should do? Do both!! Mixing up your routine is excellent for continuous improvement to health and fitness. Don’t restrict yourself to thinking that cardio is defined by the treadmills, stationary bikes, rowers, elliptical trainers and stair masters found in the most gyms. If you don’t like using them you wouldn’t be alone. I can run 10km fairly comfortably outside, but get me on a treadmill and I’m bored after 3minutes! I can give you a cardio workout and not use a single one of those machines! The important thing is to find something you enjoy doing because then you’re more likely to stick to it!