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The Benefits of Cardio & Weights: How Each Can Help You Reach Your Fitness Goals

When it comes down to it, various types of exercise are good for you; however not all types of exercise yield the same benefits. Two of the most popular forms of exercise are Cardio and Weights. Today we’re going to look into cardio vs. weights to find out the different benefits each yields and the importance of adding them each into your routine. 

Cardio (short for cardiorespiratory endurance) describes activities that demand the use of your heart, lungs, and blood vessels, these systems use oxygen which is why the term ‘aerobic’ or ‘with oxygen’ is also commonly used. Examples include walking, running, jogging, swimming, cycling, basketball…you get the picture.

Weights or resistance training, describes activities that require you to use your muscles to push, pull, lift, hold, and respond to loads. This might include a spectrum of activities such as squats with a barbell, or dumbbell curls; or even body weight exercises such as plank holds, or push ups.

Now that we have established the difference between the two types of exercise let’s get into the good stuff! What are the benefits of each type of exercise?

Benefits of Cardio:

  1. Increase in cardiorespiratory fitness is associated with less risk for premature death, and preventative disease- in particular cardiovascular disease.

  2. Retaining aerobic fitness will allow you to participate in daily life activities with greater ease.

  3. Increase in endurance will open up your ability to participate in recreational activities.

  4. Aerobic fitness activities help the body burn calories and therefore help maintain a healthy body weight.

Benefits of Resistance Training:

  1. Favorable changes include increase in lean muscle mass, reduce body fat, fortify bone, lower blood pressure, improve blood lipid and cholesterol levels, enhance body’s ability to use glucose.

  2. Increase in bone mineral density that may decrease risk for osteoporosis.

  3. Increase in balance, and therefore decrease the risk of falling, in older adults.

  4. Limit development of other diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.

  5. Firm/toned muscles.

As you can see, both types of exercise provide excellent health benefits. Exercise in general is just, clearly, so good for you. 

While some of you may be more advanced and are already doing both of these (that is fantastic, keep up the hard work), others of you may be more focused on just one or the other. And that is okay. I applaud you where you are at in your health journey.

But if you think you might be ready for something new, I encourage you to get out there and add something new into your routine! You might just find benefits waiting for you that you never knew were possible!

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