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Endurance vs Strength: Striking a Balance Between Cardio and Muscle Building

When it comes time to decide how to exercise, most people choose between cardio and strength training. Each one of these has its benefits. However, if you can include both in your workout, you will see an even more significant improvement in your health.

Understanding the Difference Between Cardio and Strength Training

Cardio exercises focus on improving your cardiovascular health and strength. Their goal is to help your body strengthen its oxygen consumption.

On the other hand, strength training improves the strength of muscles, the function of nerves, and your overall muscle control, balance, and coordination.

When a person opts for a cardio exercise like running, jump roping, or doing a cardio workout, they give their body a long-term energy source. They are working to improve their endurance. Over time, they can work out longer without getting tired.

When a person focuses on strength exercising, like lifting weights, they put stress on their muscles, which causes them to get bigger and stronger.

The Benefits of Doing Both Cardio and Weight Training

Both strength training and cardio exercise play crucial yet distinct roles in a person’s overall fitness. Many healthcare professionals recommend that individuals aim for approximately 150 minutes of moderately intensive cardio activity per week. This can include activities like jogging, cycling, or running. Additionally, it is advisable to incorporate at least two or more days of strength training exercises into one’s routine.

A simple approach can yield noticeable advantages, such as dedicating 30 minutes to cardio five days a week or adjusting based on one’s schedule. Even if time constraints make it challenging to reach the full 150 minutes per week, it’s still beneficial to incorporate some level of cardio into a fitness routine. Any amount of both cardio and strength training performed each week will provide health benefits. Both forms of exercise have been shown to help prevent a wide range of conditions, including hypertension, diabetes, arthritis, depression, and more.

But some might wonder, does cardio kill gains? No. Cardio and strength training are complementary. The key is the order in which you do the workout. If you do cardio first, you may not have the energy to perform as well when you lift weights because you’ve already fatigued yourself. If your main goal is to build muscle, you should do resistance training first and follow up with cardio.

Increase Flexibility and Reduce the Chance of Injury

One benefit of incorporating weight training and cardio into your workout routine is minimizing the chance of injuring yourself. Incorporating strength training into your cardio routine will give your body a break from repetitive movements, such as those seen in running, cycling, or swimming. Additionally, strength training will strengthen your stabilizing muscles. This will make it easier for you to do cardio movements without injury.

For example, the risk of injury will be lower for people who jump rope four times a week while incorporating two days of strength training as opposed to someone who dedicates six days a week to jumping rope with no strength training. Some recommend a person have a two-thirds cardio workout ratio to one-third strength training. The balance does not have to be exactly perfect, but it gives an overall idea of how a workout schedule should look.

Creating a Balanced Workout Schedule

Creating a balanced workout schedule can be a challenge. It starts with selecting your workouts. Cycling, boxing, HIIT, and Pilates could all be included in your cardio routine. You want your cardio routine to be something that gets your heart rate up while at the same time working a variety of muscles. Your weightlifting routine could include going to the gym, using weights at home, or doing calisthenics, which relies on using your body weight to help you build muscles.

Making a Balanced Workout a Part of Life

A more balanced exercise routine can lead to greater enjoyment and improved results. Starting at a manageable pace is essential if you’re new to exercise. When engaging in weightlifting, prioritize proper form over heavy weights. Continually challenge your muscles and cardiovascular system to see progress. Allow your body sufficient rest to facilitate recovery. Ultimately, find pleasure in your workouts and pursue activities you genuinely enjoy. This approach will help you establish a well-rounded, enjoyable exercise routine.

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