Running or Reps - What is better for your body?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Photo: Courtesy of photostock

We all have our personalized exercise plans when we lace up for a workout. There are the muscle men that spend their entire gym sessions lifting weights, while there are others who hit the roads for long runs. So who is more effective at working out? When discussing lifting weights versus cardio, is one really better than the other? Well, Women’s Health Magazine says that it depends! The battle of strength versus cardio is squashed as research and experts dish out advice on when to hit the track and when to pick up the pounds.

It takes a lot of hard work to achieve your ultimate body, and once you’ve reached your goal it can be even harder to stay there. Recently exchanged five pounds of fat for long lean muscle by logging miles around the track each day? Congrats! But the same old workout isn’t going to cut it if you want to maintain your physique.  While cardio does technically burn more calories than strength training, lifting weights is actually going to become your new favorite hobby in the weight loss world. Your metabolism spikes for an entire hour after your regular strength training workout, meaning you’re burning an additional 25% of the calories you already burned by just being you! The heavier the weight and the less rest you take results in even more calorie torching. So after adding strength training into your routine, you’ve started to build some muscle - here comes even more great news - according to PhD Wayne Westcott, for every three pounds of muscle you build, you burn an additional 120 calories a day. Amazing right? This is because muscle requires more energy to maintain.

The tables are turned however if you’re tying to trump stress levels. While little research has been conducted on the stress reducing effects of weight lifting, participating in just 15 minutes of cardio a day can cut fatigue in half, lower anxiety, and increase your serotonin levels. Ever heard of strength training or cardio to build confidence? How does that work? Well aside from the high confidence levels that arise from the sense of accomplishment among cardio fitness gurus such as swimmers, sprinters and cyclists, lifting weights may boost your confidence even more! Blood swells to your muscles after an intense lifting session which gives them a toned appearance and after weeks of training can significantly improve confidence levels. Read more of Women’s Health Magazine’s “Face Off” article to find out which wins the duel when it comes to trying increase your speed, enhance your endurance, or even avoid an irritating knee inflammation.

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