Exercise is an important part of many peoples’ lives. Some people engage in aerobic or cardio exercise such as jogging, swimming and cycling whilst others prefer to lift weights and perform resistance training exercises. Both types of exercises are good for you and have a variety of benefits but, according to the National Strength and Conditioning Association and the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), you should combine both aerobic and resistance exercise to achieve optimal all-round fitness.
About Aerobic Exercise
Aerobic exercise, sometimes called cardio, is very beneficial for your heart and your lungs and can lower your risk of suffering from a variety of conditions. For example, aerobic exercise is linked to a reduction in blood pressure, reduced risk of CHD and lowered incidence of diabetes. Many people associate aerobic exercise with either long distance running or group exercise classes. There are, however, many other ways you can elevate your heart rate to get aerobic benefits. Dancing, swimming, hiking and playing sports such as soccer are all examples of aerobic activities.
Improving your Aerobic Fitness
To get the most out of your aerobic exercise requires, according to the ACSM, at least three 20 minute workouts per week where your heart rate is elevated to between 60 and 90 percent of your maximum. This prescription will improve your aerobic fitness and reduce your risk of suffering from a range of conditions which come under the umbrella of all-cause mortality. Choose activities that you enjoy and that you can stick with as consistency is the key to gaining benefits from aerobic exercise.
About Resistance Training
Resistance training, sometimes called strength or weight training, doesn’t necessarily mean bodybuilding or weightlifting. Both bodybuilding and weightlifting are sports whereas resistance training is done not for competition but because for the benefits associated with working out with weights. Resistance training will strengthen and tone your muscles, make your bones denser, improve your posture, make everyday activities easier and also increase your metabolism which will make weight management easier.
Adding Strength Training to your Routine
To enjoy the benefits of resistance training, your muscles need to be exercised at least once but preferably twice a week on non-consecutive days. You can get a good all-round workout in under an hour and if you keep your workout to a minimum volume by using compound or multi-joint exercises, you can get an effective workout in 30 minutes.
Putting it all together
To develop all-round fitness and health, you should include both aerobic and resistance training in your weekly schedule. This can be done in a number of ways. You could perform different types of exercise on different days or, alternatively, perform resistance exercises after your aerobic workouts or vice versa. Some types of workout, in particular circuit training, combine aerobic and resistance exercises into a single training session and deliver good all round results.