Why Cardio and Strength Training Are Both Important

5 min read
fairly easy
I've been on both sides of the fence. As a runner, I would go months without lifting a weight or doing any purposeful strength training, because who has the time? And in my more recent life as a lifter, I'd join in the joking about how more than ten reps...
Why Cardio and Strength Training Are Both Important

is cardio, hur hur hur. But here's the truth: we all need strength training and real cardio.

I think it's easy to gravitate to one type of exercise because we find it fun or convenient. Then, when we feel like we're sufficiently challenged, there's no need to look further, right? I'm already an athlete, I remember thinking during both of my extreme phases. But both times, I was missing something.

What strength training does for you

Most obviously, strength training makes you stronger. That means you're better able to lift weights, but also means building the strength reserves to do better in other sports — strong legs to help you run up hills, for example. It also means you'll be stronger in everyday life, and chores like carrying groceries or shoveling snow will feel easier.

Strength training can mean lifting weights, but it can also include other types of resistance training. It's called "resistance" because you're literally pushing against some kind of force. Maybe you're working with dumbbells or resistance bands, or maybe you're creating a force to resist with your own body, as in pushups or air squats.

Our muscle mass decreases with age, but the more muscle you have to start with, the better off you'll be. (There's no such thing as "too old" to train, and in fact, the older you are the more important it is.) Loss of muscle, called sarcopenia, contributes to the likelihood of falls and fractures. Exercise slows and can possibly reverse that loss.

Strength training also helps bone health and joint flexibility. People who strength train also tend to have better balance and may have an easier time controlling their weight.

What cardio does for you

Cardiovascular exercise…
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