I've heard many views over the years on whether aerobic training or strength training is better, especially for people trying to lose weight. My brother, who was a personal trainer for several years told me, if you can only do one, go for the strength training. Other people tell me, aerobic is the way to go. After much research, I've discovered that you need both because they contribute to your overall health in very different ways.
The word aerobic means "with oxygen" and aerobic exercise is activity that increases the body's need for oxygen. Things like jogging, walking, dancing, gardening or cycling can all be examples of aerobic exercise. The key is that you work hard enough to break a sweat and increase your heart rate.
Aerobic exercise is important because it strengthens your heart and lungs, and because your body burns store fat to use for fuel during the exercise.
The benefits of Aerobics include:
* Increased metabolism, fat loss, and energy
* Lower blood pressure
* Lower risk of developing diabetes and other diseases
* Increases good cholesterol and decreases bad cholesterol
Strength training, on the other hand, is anaerobic, meaning "without oxygen." In strength training, you exercise in short bursts and your body relies on sugar stored in your muscles for its fuel. Examples of strength training are weight lifting or other resistance-based systems. Strength training works to build muscle and endurance and this is important because muscle is much more efficient at burning calories than fat is. The more muscle you have, the easier it will be to keep off excess weight.
Strength training can benefit your body in the following ways:
* Builds lean muscle tissue
* Increases bone density (helps fight osteoporosis)
* Increases metabolism
* Increase long term weight loss
* Reduces cholesterol and the risk of heart disease
You need both types of exercise – choosing one over the other is like choosing food over water. Each method works the body in different ways and both are necessary to get the maximum benefit from your exercise program.
It is recommended that you get 3-5 sessions (30 minutes or more each) of aerobic exercise per week and 2 sessions of strength training per week. Of course you should always check with your doctor before starting an exercise program.