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Cardio vs. weights: which is better for weight loss and overall health?

The benefits of weight training include increased muscle, tendon and ligament strength, bone density and muscle tone.” - John K.

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Cardio exercises are focused on boosting cardiovascular and aerobic activity while a weight training workout uses resistance to enhance physical strength and muscle growth. Some of these cardio workouts include jumping, dancing, running, swimming, and cycling. Weight training can take many varied forms. Generally, it can be exercised using body weight, free weights or weighted machines. Weightlifting targets muscle by using resistance with lower repetitions - which increases your muscle size; and capitalizing on intensive sets - which increase your endurance.

The primary benefit of cardio exercise is that you can participate without the use of equipment or special clothing. Put simply, cardio exercise is all about moving and breathing faster. If you condition your heart and lungs correctly with enough cardio exercise, you won't be forced to gas out early when doing other exercises. Harvard Medical School concurs that a 155-pound individual burns 112 calories when lifting weights for 30 minutes compared to burning 372 calories when running for the same period of time. Additionally, the person can also burn 391 calories by cycling for thirty minutes.


Cardio enhances fast weight loss. A 2012 research by Duke University and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute compared the results between three groups that performed cardio, strength training, and a combination of the workouts. The researchers discovered that the cardio group reduced significant fat and body mass compared to other groups. Moreover, the group that combined the workouts took twice the time to achieve similar results.

The disadvantage of cardio exercise is that it only assists in burning fat. The person becomes lean with fat-burning muscle. Cardio workout shouldn't be viewed as an alternative to weight training. The two types of exercise have different purposes and produce different results; neither one is better than the other. The benefits of weight training include increased muscle, tendon and ligament strength, bone density and muscle tone. Weight training also helps to maintain a healthy weight in children and adults alike.


The United States Marine Corps (USMC) uses weight training as part of its physical fitness training for their recruit training programs that includes increasing muscular strength, endurance for example by lifting a heavier load at slower speeds without losing proper technique. The positive effects of resistance exercise also include an increase in bone density which plays a significant role in reducing the risk of osteoporosis as well as other benefits for overall health.

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Cardio is the best way to lose weight and maintain overall health because it burns more fat, promotes muscle growth, and increases your metabolism. However, cardio workouts can lead to muscle inflammation and joint soreness due to the high amount of exertion necessary for most of them. It is crucial that beginners involve health professionals before engaging in the fitness routine to avoid health risks that may deter their goals. Exercise programs determine the significance of the intended outcome.


The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends that cardio workouts should exceed 225 minutes per week to promote weight loss. Without caloric restriction, individuals engaging in the physical activity can lose 2 kilograms in a month. Vigorous intensity cardio exercise contributes to greater weight loss compared to moderate intensity workout. High intensity exercise boosts total energy expenditure leading to burning calories fast and losing body mass. However, individuals should be cautious when engaging in the exercise training to prevent risk of inflammation. As a beginner, you should consult clinicians to define reasonable expectations of the weight loss program.

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Dietary plans are also crucial in overall health. Combination of the exercise program and caloric restriction concordant with public health recommendations enhances significant benefits on the individual. This strategy helps reduce total mass, visceral fat, and boosts the quality of life. Exercise training reduces the severity of risk factors such as cardiovascular diseases, insulin resistance, and inflammation.

Weights also play an important role in weight loss and overall health. They promote muscle growth and strength while increasing your metabolism and burning more calories than cardio workouts. A 20-minutes strength training program requires utilization 200 calories to perform the activity. The individual will also burn additional 50 calories during recovery after the workout. The physical activity leads to weight loss as the body utilizes the energy in remodeling and building strength.


People should monitor their body needs when they intend lose weight and improve their overall health. Repeating the same exercises may either boost the body health or lead to problems. Folks desiring to lose weight should not only focus on just cardio workouts because engaging in repeated activity can cause muscle inflammation and joint pain. Cardio workouts are usually the best choice to lose weight, but must be subscribed to in a gradual sense from the less stressful to the more intense ones.

By adding weight training into the fitness program, you are likely to boost your body strength and endurance as you burn more calories and reduce risk of exhaustion and inflammation. A combination of cardio and weights boosts the overall health through promoting glucose control, cardiorespiratory fitness, mental health, increasing bone density, and enhancing the endothelial function. A comprehensive exercise program enhances the quality of life by inducing an active lifestyle and consideration of one’s dietary intake to maintain recommended body mass index.


Remember to seek professional consultation in selecting the best training modalities to achieve significant weight loss and overall health.


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