To get the most out of your weight loss or weight maintenance goals, you should include both cardio workouts and strength exercises. Lucky for you, there are many ways to incorporate both of them into your workouts. You can do them individually during different times of the week or you can mix them together, such as in circuit training. By changing up your exercise routine and making it fun, you’ll stick with it longer and see the results you've been longing for.
Cardio Workout Benefits
There are many benefits to be gained when incorporating cardio workouts into your weekly routine. Regular cardio exercise helps prevent weight gain and can help to maintain weight loss. You burn calories when you engage in physical activity and the more intense the cardio workout, the more calories you burn. Cardio exercise is also beneficial for your heart health. Being active will help prevent high blood pressure and combat heart disease and other health conditions. Cardio exercise can also boost your energy, improve your mood and promote better sleep patterns.
Strength Training Benefits
Strength training is important to incorporate into your weekly workout sessions as well. The more muscle you have on your body, the more fat your body can burn. This is essential for both weight loss and weight maintenance. During your initial workout, you will burn fewer calories strength training than you would doing a cardio session. However, as you gain muscle mass, your body will burn more calories even while resting. Strength training improves your muscles' strength and also improves your balance.
According to Mayo Clinic, there is no clear advantage between longer, less frequent cardio sessions versus shorter, more frequent cardio sessions. What’s important is getting in your cardio every week. You should perform at least 150 minutes a week of moderate cardio activity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous cardio activity. When it comes to strength training, you should aim for three days a week, but two will suffice. Strength training everyday or more than three days a week doesn’t give your muscles enough time to recover. Incorporate exercises such as pull downs, rows and presses, which work both your small muscle groups and your large ones at the same time. Aim for 20 to 30 minutes of strength training that works your small and large muscles in unison.
Combining cardio and strength moves in a circuit training workout will both sculpt muscles and blast fat. Circuit training is an excellent way for keeping boredom at bay. A circuit is a series of strength and cardio exercises that you repeat two to three times without breaks in between sets. Alternate strength exercises with cardio exercises for 20 to 30 minutes without any rest in between each exercise. Continue alternating exercises for 20 to 30 minutes to burn major calories and also tone your muscles.
Danielle Clark has been a writer since 2009, specializing in environmental and health and fitness topics. She has contributed to magazines and several online publications. Clark holds a Bachelor of Science in ecology and environmental science.