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Finding the Balance

So, is it better to do cardio exercise or strength training alone, or find a balance of the two?
Exercise Content Image 02
Exercise Content Image 02

By Julie Graham, Manager at Engadine

It’s widely known that exercise can improve health. There are many and varied lists of benefits of cardiovascular exercise from walking where oxygen is used to provide the body with continuous energy that improves your endurance to managing, treating and preventing a range of health conditions such as Diabetes, Hypertension, Arthritis, Cancer and Depression. A study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine (2022) found improving cardiovascular adaptations that increase our oxygen consumption also improves endurance, oxygen utilisation efficiency and cardiac and respiratory function. The study also found a combination of cardiovascular and strength training was associated with a lower risk of mortality than cardio alone!

So, is it better to do cardio exercise or strength training alone, or find a balance of the two?

Strength training can be quite beneficial in targeting the increasing number of chronic health conditions such as obesity, diabetes and many heart conditions. Following any strength training workout your body continues to burn calories as it returns to its restful state, a process called ‘excess post-exercise oxygen consumption’ (EPOC) some saying this process can take up to 24hours. What does this mean? During a strength training or weights session your body demands more energy based on how much energy you are exerting (the harder you are working the more energy demanded). Therefore, you can amplify this effect depending on the amount of energy you put into your workout. Simply put, the more calories you burn during a session, the more calories you burn after the session whilst your body is recovering back to its resting state.

Around the age of 30 years, we all start to lose as much as 3-5% of lean muscle mass per decade due to ageing which can lead to balance and coordination concerns. Strength exercises work at the level of the muscles and the nerves controlling those muscles to improve strength and neuromuscular control. Strength training is critical for not just looking good and being strong but for preventing diseases of ageing.

Muscle strength is a crucial factor in making day to day activities easier. Strength training has shown to improve functional performance, as well as improving bone density and bone structure. Increasing muscle size, power and strength essential for bone, joint and muscle health can lead to better balance and coordination by strengthening the muscles that keep you on your feet, the stronger those muscles are, the better your balance.

It seems strength training and cardiovascular training have many benefits and have a role to play in our overall health and day to day performance. For those only doing cardio training maybe think about adding some strength training to your program and measure the differences for yourself. Same for those only doing strength training, maybe add some cardio to your workout and measure your differences.

Where do I start? Speak with one of our friendly Trainers today!  

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