A lot of people who are new to exercise are often confused between cardio and strength training. While both are beneficial to your body, they have many differences, such as the benefits they can give you.
The main difference between the two is the process. For cardiovascular exercise, you are increasing your heart rate so that you can burn more calories. On the other hand, strength training involves using weights or other methods to increase muscle mass.
Another difference between cardiovascular exercise and strength training is the method in which they burn calories. In cardiovascular training, you burn most of the calories during the exercise. In contrast, in strength training, it increases your heart and metabolic rate, and most of the calories will actually be burned after the exercise.
Part 1: Cardio
Also known as aerobic exercise, cardiovascular endurance training is a training that mostly consists of increasing your heart and metabolic rate.
Examples of Cardiovascular Exercise
- Treadmill: The treadmill is one of the most popular cardiovascular exercises. A 20-minute run on the treadmill is recommended. But if you want to go for a moderate-intensity workout, you can do a 30-minute light jogging on a treadmill.
- Jogging: If you do not have a treadmill or do not have access to a gym, jogging is the best alternative. Jogging around your neighborhood for a few minutes is a great way to get into cardiovascular exercise. You can do this without gym equipment, but it is highly advisable that you.
- Jumping Jacks: Jumping jacks is one of the exercises you can do at home without any gym equipment. It is a highly effective exercise that can burn up to 8 calories per minute for people weighing 120 pounds.
Benefits of Cardiovascular Exercise
There are several health benefits that make cardiovascular endurance workouts beneficial.
1. Regulating Blood Sugar
For people who have type 2 diabetes, there’s a lot of research showing that regular cardiovascular exercise helps regulate blood sugar. Partnered with a healthy diet, you can manage your type 2 diabetes symptoms better.
For healthy people, you can still get the benefits of cardio by decreasing your likelihood of developing diabetes.
2. Weight Loss (If Necessary)
If you want to lose weight easily, you can lengthen the time you spend on aerobic exercises so that you can burn more fats. Even simple aerobic exercises such as walking can already burn a lot of your body fat. If you do it regularly, you will be able to see a decrease in your weight.
3. Reduce Bad Cholesterol
There are two types of cholesterols, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, which is good for your body. Meanwhile, bad cholesterol is known as the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. When you are doing cardiovascular exercise, you can increase your HDL cholesterol level and decrease your LDL cholesterol.
A 40-minute exercise 3 to 4 times a week can help you lower your blood pressure and your bad cholesterol level efficiently.
4. Improves Quality of Sleep
If you are having difficulty sleeping, cardiovascular exercise can help. Multiple studies show people having chronic sleep issues improve their sleep when they are enrolled in exercise programs focused on cardiovascular training. However, you have to take note that you should still avoid exercising at least 2 hours before bedtime for the optimum effect.
5. Lowers Blood Pressure
As mentioned above, doing cardiovascular exercises can help you lower blood pressure and manage other high blood pressure symptoms. If you do an aerobic exercise daily, you can see a decrease in your blood pressure. However, you should take note that you should also maintain a healthy diet and a proper sleeping schedule.
Part 2: Strength Training
On the other hand, strength training is focused on increasing your muscle’s strength and bone density. Also known as resistance training, this type of exercise is usually done by having free-weights or weight machines to help you train specific muscle groups. However, several strength training exercises can be done at home without equipment and mainly using your body weight for the exercise.
Examples of Strength Training
- Lifting weights: Weightlifting has a huge impact on your muscle mass. Together with the right diet, it can help you become leaner and also stronger. There are different types of weights, depending on your goal. However, it is not advisable to lift weights daily, as it might increase your risk of injury due to affected performance.
- Planking: If you do not have weights to lift, you can use your own body weight to train your muscles. Planking is one of the most effective strength training types as it trains multiple muscle groups all at once. If you are maintaining a proper planking position, your arm, legs, and core muscles are all working to hold your weight. This is a popular exercise among beginners who train at home.
- Pushups: One of the classic exercises, the pushup, is a bodyweight workout designed to increase your arm muscles’ strength. You can increase the number of pushups you do every day to immediately see the results.
Benefits of Strength Training
Below are just a few of the benefits of strength training that make it an attractive option for many people.
1. Builds Strength
The main benefit of strength training is that your muscles get stronger. Since you are exerting more effort in strength training, your muscles will get leaner, and you will have more strength.
2. Increases in Muscle Mass
With strength training, you can increase your muscle mass by focusing on different parts of your body. The main point of strength training is that it works your muscles to become stronger and leaner.
Aside from increasing muscle mass, you can also benefit from having increased bone density, which will further strengthen your body. It can also help you avoid chronic diseases later on in life.
3. Increases Resting Metabolism
Since it increases your resting metabolism, strength training can be a more effective method of losing weight than aerobic exercise. With a boosted metabolism, your body will still burn more calories even if you are resting.
4. Improves Posture
For people who are having a hard time maintaining a good posture, regular strength training can help. Focus on your neck, shoulder, legs, and core muscles to get leaner. After a few sessions, you will find it easier to maintain a good posture for longer periods.
5. Improves Mood
Researches show that strength training can increase your level of endorphins, thus helping you get into a better mood. Aside from this, an increased level of endorphins will also help boost your energy.