When it comes to exercise, aerobic exercise and strength training are the ones that usually come into people’s minds. Both of them are good for improving both your physical and mental health. However, if you want to lose weight, which of them is more effective?
Aerobic exercise is a kind of exercise that strengthens your heart and lungs. It helps improve the ability of your heart to pump blood and the ability of your lungs and heart to transport oxygen throughout your body.
There are many types of cardio exercises, such as running, power walking, jumping rope, biking, hiking, swimming, rowing, dancing, climbing stairs or participating in sports such as hockey, football, tennis, ice skating or basketball.
Strength training is the use of resistance to build muscle strength and endurance. It is also known as resistance training.
Strength training includes lifting weights, performing repetitive exercises on weight machines, using resistance bands, push-ups, and squats, etc.
Which One is Better For Weight Loss, Cardio or Strength Training?
If your main goal is to lose weight, then you need to burn more calories and increase muscle mass.
What aerobic exercise does is burn calories. The more you exercise, the more calories you burn.
If you want to lose weight, you should do aerobic exercise at least 5 days a week for a total of at least 250 minutes (4 hours 10 minutes).
This is a difficult goal for most people to achieve.
However, doing any kind of exercise is better than doing nothing at all, so every minute counts as long as you’re moving.
If you feel that you are too busy to exercise, you can use the fragmented time to exercise. For example, take the stairs instead of the elevator, bike to work or take two extra stops on the bus, etc.
In fact, any physical activity you do every day ( other than deliberate exercise ) burns calories.
There is a word called NEAT which refers to “Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis”. Things like doing laundry, cooking, cleaning, shopping, walking the dog and even playing a musical instrument all qualify as non-exercise activity thermogenesis.
Therefore, if you can increase your NEAT time, even without engaging in more physical activity, your metabolism can increase allowing you to burn more fat.
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2. Strength training
Strength training can maintain body weight by building muscle tissue.
The higher your muscle mass, the higher your metabolic rate. More muscle also helps your body burn off excess fat, which is important if you want to lose weight and maintain your strength.
Therefore, building muscle through strength training speeds up your metabolism. The faster your metabolism, the faster your body burns calories.
If you want to lose weight consistently, you must burn more calories than you consume each day.
To maximize the benefits of strength training, you should try to do some kind of strength training exercise three to five times a week for about two hours in total.
Unlike cardio, you don’t need to do strength training every day. You should take at least one day off after every two-day workout.
For example, if you do strength training on Monday and Tuesday, take a day off on Wednesday, then train again on Thursday and Friday.
The best practice may be to use a combination of aerobic exercise and strength training. Aerobic exercise helps you to lose fat and strength training helps to shape your body. Additionally, you can supplement your exercise with a healthy and balanced diet, allowing you to see even faster results.
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Examples of Workouts that Combine Strength Training and Cardio
The optimal time for a workout should be based on your daily routine. In addition, being able to stick to your workouts with relative ease over the long term is also very important.
Here’s a sample schedule that includes strength training and cardio:
- Monday: Walk 30 minutes throughout the day, plus 30 minutes of other cardio activity of your choice.
- Tuesday: Walk 30 minutes throughout the day, and do 30 minutes of strength training.
- Wednesday: One hour of squash, tennis, or basketball.
- Thursday: Do 30 minutes of strength training, alternating push-ups, squats, and sit-ups, followed by 30 minutes of yoga.
- Friday: Walk or jog for an hour throughout the day.
- Saturday: Do an hour of strength training, then choose some type of cardio for 30 minutes.
- Sunday: Take a day off, or walk 30 minutes all day.
Remember, any movement is better than doing nothing at all.
It takes time to get used to this lifestyle, especially if you are new to exercising. It is best to choose a form of exercise that you enjoy because you are more likely to stick with it when you feel exercising is a pleasure rather than a pain. The more you do, the sooner you’ll reach your goals of weight loss.
For example, gardening is a good way of exercising. If you can work in your own vegetable garden for an hour, you can burn off a lot of calories.
Whether it’s aerobic exercise or strength training, the main purposes of your exercise, in addition to losing weight, are to fully move your body, increase your heart rate and ultimately improve your cardiopulmonary function, while also enhancing muscle strength and brain health.