Between the busy holiday schedules that derail regular fitness regimens and the looming pressure of making New Year’s Resolutions (not to mention all those catered cocktail parties,) December is the month that many people begin to reevaluate their workout routine. We all want to know what the best, most effective workout is for quickly whipping us back into shape, and there’s no greater debate than the ‘Cardio vs. Weight Training’ one.
Benefits of Cardio
Cardiovascular training is great to get your heart rate up to create more oxygen pumping through your blood, which:
- Strengthens your heart and lungs
- Improves circulation
- Increases bone density
- Improves sleep, reduces anxiety levels and increases energy.
Benefits of Weight Training
Weight/resistance training is a great way to:
- Increase lean muscle mass
- Strengthen bones, which helps combat osteoporosis
- Reduce body fat
So, as you can see, both are great for different things; but which is better for burning all those extra Christmas calories? The honest answer is that both are great for burning calories, just in different ways.
Feel the Burn
Light-to-moderate intensity aerobic activity will get your heart pumping, which burns calories during your workout. However, it’s important to remember that over-doing your cardio workouts can cause more harm than good. Government guidelines suggest an average of 2.5 hours per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity. Too much cardio can indeed result in muscle loss, stress and strain on joints, and potential damage to the heart.
On the other hand, weight training helps increase your muscle tissue, and when done on a regular basis it can create those long, lean muscles (Hello, Pilates!) The more lean muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn. Strength training also increases your metabolic rate, which means you’ll continue to burn calories throughout your day even after your workout is done.
The Final Verdict
Okay, are you ready for the answer to this much asked question?? Do BOTH cardio and weight training. Sensationalized articles in fitness magazines and blogs are constantly comparing the two, but the truth of the matter is that there is no “versus” here! They’re both great, they’re definitely both needed, and they will both benefit your overall health. In fact, some classes are actually designed to combine both (called “concurrent” or “interval” training.) Balancing both cardio and strength training into your daily fitness regimen is key to achieving your fitness goals. Interval training can help ramp up your body’s ability to burn calories during a workout, as well as when the body is resting. Do your weight training first, then add in your cardio.
ABC Pilates offers some great classes that offer both cardio and resistance training in one workout, such as this month’s featured class, Pilates Circuit. So, grab those weights/bands/springs along with a little cardio jump board and you’re all set to burn off those unwanted holiday calories and live a fit life in 2016.
ABC Pilates Studio Manager & Instructor