Weight training or aerobic training?


This article aims to introduce the concept that exercise types (resistance and cardiovascular training) have inherent pro's and con's. To do this we will explore different areas of fitness asking the question "Which exercise type improves ..."

Fitness and stamina
Traditional weight training does very little to improve fitness. Traditional weight training calls for intense bouts of weight lifting followed by a prolonged rest between 'sets' to recuperate before repeating the same lift. However, weight training in another form - that of circuit training - can reduce these rest periods by allowing one muscle to recuperate as another muscle is worked. This method of weight training has been known to develop a limited level of stamina.

Cardiovascular (CV) training on the other hand works the heart, lungs and circulatory system very hard indeed. With CV exercise the harder we work, the greater the demand placed up on our hearts and thus the greater the fitness benefits achieved.

NOTE: Remember that the heart is a muscle just like any other. It will only gain strength when challenged then left to rest (perhaps up to 48 hours) before placing under stress again.

The heart
The more efficient the heart the lower the resting heart rate. Basically the greater the fitness level the less work the heart has to do to keep us alive during rest or low level work. Cardiovascular athletes (rowers, cyclists, mid - long distance runners) exhibit resting heart rates as low as 40 beats per minute.

Weight trained and power-based athletes usually exhibit higher resting heart rates due to the fact that their cardiopulmonary systems (heart and lungs) aren't as efficient at extracting and delivering oxygen as their long distance contemporaries.

Strength and muscle tone
Fitness workouts call for the performer to burn excessive amounts of calories as fuel to power there prolonged sessions - great for weight control and fitness gains but not conducive for building muscles.

After an intense bout of weight training, muscles must be rested in order to promote the process needed to repair and strengthen damaged and torn muscle fibres. Usually after approximately 72 hours rest, the weight trainer will find that his or hers muscles are that little bit stronger - this is due to a process of overcompensation of fibre repair.

An injury free body
Fitness training calls for exercise to be extremely repetitive in nature. For example, when jogging our feet will pound the pavement thousands of times during any one session. This unfortunately increases the risk of injury to our feet, knees and lower back.

Where as weight training (if performed correctly) is low impact in nature and a great way to develop tendon and muscle strength.

In conclusion
As you can see each type of exercise has it's inherent benefits and faults. One thing to stress at this point is that you should choose the exercise type based primarily on your exercise goal. Want to improve your stamina? Then choose a good form of aerobic exercise. Want to develop muscle size, strength and tone? Then perform regular resistance-based exercises. If, however, you want to find a happy medium - a good solid base of fitness and a toned athletic body shape - then I suggest you perform some* aerobic work and some* resistance-based exercises.

* Up to 3 sessions a week for no more than 45-60 minutes.



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