Contributed by: Anjali Sharma


For many years cardio was considered the best exercise for weight loss. When it comes to increasing your metabolism and increasing your resting metabolic rate, strength training is quickly gaining popularity.

But excessive cardio training is also said to adversely affect your heart health. So if you are planning to lose weight then is it advisable to be completely dependent on one type of exercise? Or should you take a combination of cardio and strength training?

Over the years many fitness experts have researched and practiced different types of exercises that work effectively for weight loss and muscle building.

Here we’re going to explain the difference between cardio and strength training and how they’re best for different people, putting all that speculation to rest.

Difference between cardio and strength training

Strength training and cardio are obviously two different types of exercise, but what really separates them is what happens inside your body.

Strength training

Strength or weight training is an anaerobic exercise, often called strength training, weight training, or resistance training. This involves using weights or lifting free weights such as barbells, dumbbells and kettlebells.

Unlike cardio, anaerobic activities use the breakdown of glucose for energy instead of oxygen. More energy is used more quickly.

Cardio training

Cardio, which means ‘cardiovascular conditioning’, is an aerobic workout that uses oxygen to get your breathing and heart rate up.

Running is probably the most divisive exercise in the cardio department, but any activity that gets you breathing faster and harder and gets your heart rate up.

If you’re a cardio person, you can get moving by doing something like jogging, cycling, swimming or even taking a Zumba class.

What are the best cardio exercises and strength training?

Some common cardio exercises are:

  • walk fast
  • ongoing
  • cycling
  • swimming
  • rowing, and cross-country skiing.
  • Cardio machine
  • Treadmill
  • Elliptical trainer
  • fixed cycle
  • Stepping machine
  • Rowing machine
  • Ski instructor

Some common strength training exercises are:

  • squat
  • Bicep curl
  • leg extension
  • bend the leg
  • chest pressure
  • overhead
  • lateral growth
  • plank
  • Highlighted above
  • Reverse lunge

How often should you do cardio or weights to lose weight?

Less than 150 minutes per week of moderate to vigorous physical activity, such as cardio, is generally considered insufficient by health and fitness experts for weight loss.

However, they claim that for most people, more than 150 minutes of this type of physical exercise per week is enough to help with weight loss.

Additionally, studies show that individuals lose more body weight when they engage in greater amounts of physical exercise.

So, if you choose only one cardio activity, your weekly plan might look like this:

  • 2-4 times a week for weight training
  • Cardio with low intensity: 5-7 times per week
  • Moderate intensity cardio: 3-4 times a week
  • Cardio with high intensity: 1-3 times per week

Is too much cardio bad for your heart health?

Chronic cardio has been linked to plaque formation, hardening of the arteries and possible heart defects.

Chronic cardio is long-term, repetitive cardiovascular training that exceeds the aerobic point and increases heart rate to 80 to 85 percent.

This was discovered in a study of endurance runners competing in triathlons and ultramarathons. Many athletes have this endurance Cardiac (heart) problemsOne of which was a weakened right ventricle.

It was concluded that prolonged, intensive cardio can be harmful to the way our heart works, creating enough physical stress when pushing them too hard through the demands of endurance training, even if they show recovery a week after the race.

Is cardio more effective than strength training for weight loss?

Both cardio and weightlifting have their pros and cons, and different people will get different results from them.

There is evidence that weightlifting burns calories and produces long-lasting effects. However, a person’s goals, fitness level and ability ultimately determine the best type of exercise for them.

Most fitness experts recommend combining the two for general fitness and well-being.

Compared to aerobics, weight lifting often results in higher EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption) levels and more muscle breakdown. This means that even after the weightlifting session is over, the body continues to burn calories.

How to avoid the risk of heart failure?

Last thought

Both cardio and weight training can make you fitter and healthier.

Aerobic exercise burns calories more efficiently than weight lifting.

However, weight lifting is better for muscle growth than cardio training. But on the other hand your metabolism may stay up longer after cardio then after weights.

Therefore, an exercise regimen that combines both aerobic and weight training is optimal for increasing health and body composition. Performing both is ideal.

As an add-on, make it a habit to take preventive health check-ups as they can help you gain complete insight into your health. This will help you take action to promote your overall well-being.

Book a full body wellness exam today!

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