There are certain misconceptions about cardio and weight training. A few being that cardio is the best and only way to get skinny and fit, or that weight training bulks you up and is only for men.
Here at Sole, we love to run. We know you do as well, but we also want you to be well informed and have a knockout exercise routine to make you fit and feel your best.
What is Cardio?
So lets take a clear look at what cardio is and isn’t. “Cardiovascular exercise is any activity that involves the large muscles in the body, raises the heart rate, and is continuous and rhythmic,” says Nieca Goldberg, M.D., chief of Women’s Cardiac Care at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. This includes walking, biking, jogging, swimming, and even dancing (though I wouldn’t dare do that latter in public.) Paige Waehner, author of Cardio 101 – The Facts About Cardio, puts it this way, “Cardiovascular exercise means that you’re involved in an activity that raises your heart rate to a level where you’re working, but can still talk (or in other words, you’re in your Target Heart Rate Zone)”
This can even include day-to-day activities such as running to get your kids ready in the morning, climbing the stairs to work and even chasing down that gorgeous dog of yours. Cardio seems to be an essential element to staying active, but why do we really do it?
Even the most uneducated person will tell you that cardio has many worthwhile benefits. Waehner goes on to list these potential benefits:
- It’s one way to burn calories and help you lose weight
- It makes your heart strong so that it doesn’t have to work as hard to pump blood
- It increases your lung capacity
- It helps reduce risk of heart attack, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes
- It helps you sleep better
- It helps reduce stress
While ultimately cardio is helping your heart and lungs, it is also a great way to burn calories and stay healthy.
How Much Cardio should I do?
So how much is enough? You need cardio if you want to get your weight under control and get your stress to a tolerable level. In fact, according to the American Heart Association, any physical activity is better than none. Even low-intensity activity—everything from light to moderate housework, gardening, and climbing stairs—for 30 minutes a day can help. However, more vigorous activity, say jogging or swimming, for at least 30 minutes on most days of the week is the best for achieving fitness for your heart and lungs.
A good gauge of exercise intensity is whether or not you can talk while working out. According to Dr. Nieca Goldberg , “You should exercise at a level where you feel as if you’re working hard, but still are able to have a conversation.” As you become more experienced with exercise, you’ll be able to gauge your activity level. The American Heart Association also advises that, “exercising for 30–60 minutes at 50–80 percent of your maximum capacity on most days of the week will help you reach a moderate level of cardiac fitness.”
I know that I’m preaching to the choir, surly most of you reading this are actively engaged in this moderate level of cardiac fitness, which is why it’s time to incorporate some weight training.
Why Weight Training?
So you run and run, and still see little to no results. Or even run and see benefits but want to kick it up a notch. Maybe cardio isn’t the be all end all quick way to lose weight (and it definitely isn’t the only way.) According to livestrong.com “far too many people are focused on how many calories they burn while they’re at the gym, but this is shortsighted.” They go on to say that traditional cardio may dispel calories while you’re doing it, but once you stop you can quickly rescind to your normal metabolic rate. “Strength training can help you lose body fat and is likely a quicker ticket to better fitness than just plain cardio exercises.”
Wait, what? Yes, you read that correctly. Sometimes we get in our normal workout routines and find that we need to kick it up a notch to reach our goals. It’s time to step it up to the next level by mixing in some weight training.
Do I need both?
As we said before, we know you love to run, and we do too. What we are suggesting is that you use weight training as a way to break up the routine and add some extra punch to your workouts. On our Pintrest page we have excellent ideas for weight training outside of your normal exercise schedule. Now go and give me 3 sets of reps!