Cardio vs. strength training: What you need to know

If you’re looking to get fit and healthy, you may have heard conflicting advice on what type of exercise you should focus on: cardio or strength training. Both types of exercise have their benefits, and which one you choose depends on your personal fitness goals.

What Is Cardio Training?

Cardio training, also known as cardiovascular or aerobic training, refers to any type of exercise that increases your heart rate and breathing rate. The goal of cardio training is to improve your cardiovascular health by strengthening your heart and lungs, increasing endurance, and burning calories.

Examples of cardio training include running, cycling, swimming, dancing, jumping rope, and brisk walking. During cardio training, your body uses oxygen to produce energy, which is why it’s also called aerobic exercise.

What is Strength Training?

Strength training, also known as resistance training or weight training, is a type of exercise that focuses on building muscle strength and endurance by using resistance or weights. The goal of strength training is to progressively challenge your muscles to become stronger over time.

Examples of strength training exercises include weightlifting, bodyweight exercises such as push-ups and squats, and resistance band exercises. During strength training, your muscles work against a resistance, such as a dumbbell or your body weight, to create tension that stimulates muscle growth and strength.

Cardio vs. strength training

CardioStrength Training
TypeAny exercise that raises heartAny exercise that uses
rate and breathing rateresistance to build muscle
strength and endurance
ExamplesRunning, cycling, swimming, dancingLifting weights, bodyweight exercises, resistance bands
BenefitsImproves cardiovascular health, burns calories, increases enduranceBuilds muscle, increases metabolism, improves bone density
Recommended DurationAt least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise per weekAt least 2 days of muscle-strengthening activities per week
GoalImproves cardiovascular health, weight loss, increased enduranceBuilding muscle, increasing metabolism, improving bone density
Cardio vs. strength

This table summarizes the key differences between cardio and strength training, including examples, benefits, recommended duration, and goals. Keep in mind that both types of exercise are important for overall health and fitness, so it’s recommended to incorporate a combination of cardio and strength training into your routine.

Cardiovascular exercise, also known as cardio, is any type of exercise that gets your heart rate up and increases your breathing rate. This includes activities like running, cycling, swimming, and dancing. Cardio is great for improving your cardiovascular health, burning calories, and increasing endurance.

Strength training, on the other hand, is any type of exercise that uses resistance to build muscle strength and endurance. This includes exercises like lifting weights, doing bodyweight exercises, and using resistance bands. Strength training is great for building muscle, increasing metabolism, and improving bone density.

So which one should you choose? The answer depends on your fitness goals. If you want to improve your cardiovascular health, lose weight, or increase endurance, cardio is a great choice. If you want to build muscle, increase metabolism, or improve bone density, strength training is the way to go.

That being said, it’s important to remember that both types of exercise are important for overall health and fitness. Incorporating a combination of cardio and strength training into your routine can help you achieve a well-rounded fitness level.

It’s also important to note that the intensity and duration of your workouts are key factors in determining their effectiveness. It’s recommended that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise per week, along with muscle-strengthening activities at least two days a week.

Ultimately, the best exercise routine for you is the one that you enjoy and can stick to consistently. Experiment with different types of exercise to find what works best for you and your fitness goals. Whether it’s cardio, strength training, or a combination of both, the key is to stay active and keep moving towards a healthier, happier you.

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