Why Cardio Alone Doesn't Work
Cardio, the common term for cardiovascular exercise, has countless benefits for every person. By adding some cardio to your daily or weekly workout schedule, you can improve your heart's performance, burn a greater number of calories, release endorphins that improve your mood and help your muscles to better use glucose. While the benefits of cardiovascular exercise are numerous, it is not the only way to workout. Here are some of the reasons that cardio alone isn't enough as well as what kinds of exercises you can use to improve your overall health and fitness.
It May Not Increase Your Metabolism
If you want to lose weight, cardio isn't the only answer. A reduced calorie deficit might even end up causing you to lose muscle mass, which actually slows your metabolism. In order to burn the greatest number of calories at rest, you need to build more muscle. Lifting weights, or any other type of resistance training, is the best way to achieve this.
Strength Vs. Endurance
If you want to be a long-distance exerciser, which typically means either running a marathon or doing long cycling rides of 100 miles or more, then endurance may be your main objective. If you simply want overall strength, or if you want to perform well at daily tasks or any shorter fitness-related activities, strength is key and can't be obtained through cardio alone.
Calories In and Calories Out
For many people, their primary fitness objective is weight loss. While there are a number of studied debating whether there are some ways around this rule, the general scientific body believes that you need to burn more calories than you consume in order to lose weight. Dieting while also doing a large amount of cardiovascular exercise can make you incredibly hungry, which in turns means that you are more likely to binge. By focusing on resistance training, you may not have the same blood sugar spikes that cause you to overeat.
Flexibility Is Key
In order to feel good and perform at your highest level in any areas of fitness or life, flexibility is important. It takes a mix of cardio, weight training and flexibility in order to achieve the ideal balance. Before and after each workout, spend a few minutes stretching to gain greater range of motion throughout the body.
Cardiovascular exercise has plenty of benefits, but it is not the only way to approach fitness or weight loss. Resistance training, a healthy diet and flexibility are all pieces to the puzzle.