Is Cardio or Weight Training Better for Your Health?

Many of us are ramping up our workouts as sunny, beach weather approaches in New Jersey. However, what should your workout focus on this spring to get into the best shape? Should you do cardio or lift weights for the best results and effects?

Short answer is…BOTH! Let’s dive in a little further!

What Does the Research Say?

A study done by Schroeder et al. titled, “Comparative effectiveness of aerobic, resistance, and combined training on cardiovascular disease risk factors: A randomized controlled trial” compared the effects of different types of exercise. The study looked at 69 adults with elevated blood pressure or hypertension, overweight/obesity and a sedentary lifestyle. Participants were given an exercise program that consisted of workouts 3 days a week for 8 straight weeks. However, there were 3 different programs. The 69 participants were divided and assigned to one of three groups:

  • Aerobic (cardio) for 60 minutes/ session
  • Resistance (weight training) for 60 minutes/session
  • Combination: aerobic 30 minutes/session and resistance 30 minutes/session

Researchers found that combined training provided significant reductions in blood pressure, increase in cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF), increase in upper and lower body strength and increase in lean body mass. Aerobic training only increased CRF and reduced body weight and fat mass. Resistance training only increased lower body strength and reduced waist circumference. However, neither aerobic or resistance training alone showed significant reductions in blood pressure in this study. 

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Similarly, Ho and colleagues also looked at the comparisons between resistance, aerobic and combination exercise between resistance and aerobic. In this study titled, “The effect of 12 weeks of aerobic, resistance or combination exercise training on cardiovascular risk factors in the overweight and obese in a randomized trial” a training program was implemented 5 days a week for 12 weeks. It concluded that combination exercise gave greater benefits for weight loss, fat loss and cardiorespiratory fitness

Recommendations

American heart association recommends physical activity stating: “People who aren’t physically active are much more likely to have health problems, like heart attack and stroke. On the other hand, regular physical activity helps to lower blood pressure, control weight and reduce stress.” 

Their recommendations are as follows:
“For overall health benefits to the heart, lungs and circulation, get regular aerobic activity using the following guidelines:

  • For most healthy people, get the equivalent of at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity physical activity, such as brisk walking.
  • Include muscle strengthening activity at least two days each week.”

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Bottom line, aerobic exercise is good for you. Resistance training is even better for you. However, for best, most optimal results when it comes to your heart, lungs and overall health, as well as those stubborn inches around your waist, it is best to incorporate both, aerobic and resistance training.

Happy exercise! 

Contact Us!

You can find some tips on creating a workout plan here. If you would like to learn more give us a call today! New Jersey has direct access which means you can come see us without seeing your doctor! We can see you quicker than you could get in to see the doctor, while also saving you both time and money!  

Please, call us to schedule your evaluation at one of BeneFIT’s locations, Bridgewater (908.203.5200) or Chester (908.879.5700)  with one of our highly trained Doctors of Physical Therapy!

Sources: 

Schroeder, E. C., Franke, W. D., Sharp, R. L., & Lee, D. C. (2019). Comparative effectiveness of aerobic, resistance, and combined training on cardiovascular disease risk factors: A randomized controlled trial. PloS one14(1), e0210292. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0210292

Ho, S.S., Dhaliwal, S.S., Hills, A.P. et al. The effect of 12 weeks of aerobic, resistance or combination exercise training on cardiovascular risk factors in the overweight and obese in a randomized trial. BMC Public Health 12, 704 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2458-12-704

https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure/changes-you-can-make-to-manage-high-blood-pressure/getting-active-to-control-high-blood-pressure