Should I Be Doing Cardio or Lifting Weights?

The benefits, risks and disadvantages of cardio exercise and weight lifting

Both cardio exercises and weightlifting have advantages and disadvantages. Finding the proper balance between the two is the best thing you can do for your body. Cardio burns fat, while lifting weights builds and tones muscle; the combination of the two is what is going to get you the body you have always wanted. Here's a little insight into the advantages and disadvantages of both forms of exercise so that you can decide on an integrated regimen of cardio and weights that will best meet your needs.

Benefits of cardio

Cardiovascular exercise has benefits that range from weight loss to improved mental health. Cardio exercise releases endorphins in your brain, which are your body’s natural pain killers. According to Discovery Health, endorphins also reduce stress, depression and anxiety.

If you want to burn fat, cardio is your best option. You can lift weights all day long, but, if you are not doing any cardio, you will not burn that pesky layer of fat that is covering all the muscle definition you are working so hard to achieve.

Risks and disadvantages of cardio

The downsides of cardio include suspectibility to injuries such as shin splints, tendon and joint pain and stress fractures. If you are looking to tone your muscles and build definition and size, you will not achieve that through cardio exercise alone.

Benefits of lifting weights

One of the advantages to lifting weights is that the results are relatively fast and noticeable. Relying solely on cardio exercises will not get you the toning and definition desired. There are a variety of weight-lifting exercises that can target specific muscle groups throughout your body, making it simple for you to build or tone muscle in the area of your choice.

Another benefit is that exercises using free weights are often good for rehabilitation of injuries. In addition to these advantages, lifting weights makes you stronger, which may help prevent injuries.

Risks and disadvantages of lifting weights

If the appropriate weight is not used or used incorrectly, injuries can occur. Lifting weights requires more supervision and instruction for maximum benefit and avoidance of injuries than cardio exercise. Using weights alone without cardio, you will most likely develop bulk, instead of a toned and streamlined body.

When deciding between cardio or weights, remember that both types of exercises are needed when trying to achieve a healthy, strong body. Both require that you be careful and responsible for maximum effect. Using free weights during cardio exercise is also an effective way of combining the two exercises: building your muscles while getting a cardio workout.

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