You don’t have to slave away for hours on those boring cardio machines.
It’s still very much in the mainstream health community that it’s essential to do steady-state cardio exercise for health and for fat-burning. If you really enjoy jogging, I say go for it, but if hopping on a treadmill feels like slow torture then there’s no need to make it part of your routine.
You Must Move!
Don’t get me wrong, if you’re desk-bound all day then you owe it to your health to add a little movement to your day. Getting up for at least 10 minutes every hour, to take a bathroom break or talk to a colleague about a project, is vital for keeping your energy levels up during the day. Maybe you even walk up a couple flights of stairs once in a while. Walking should also be a regular part of most days. Add a 20 minute walk every evening after dinner, or a long walk with your family to the park on the weekends.
If you’re looking for serious changes in your fitness or physique though, you need to take it a bit further.
Train for Strength
Strength training is the most important part of your fitness routine, no matter what your age or fitness level. If you’re a beginner or not particularly strong, then strength training can be bodyweight exercises like squats, pushups, glute bridges, and lunges. Anything that is more than what you’ve previously been doing will build strength. As you get stronger, you’ll want to increase the weight that you’re working with. Whatever your workout plan, you want it to be progressive – increasing in weight and difficulties of movement.
Some people will argue this point, but you can derive the benefits that you associate with “cardio” from an appropriate weight training program. If you move swiftly from one exercise to another without much rest, you’ll keep your heart rate up and give yourself a cardio workout. I’m not saying that’s the way you should always do your weight training (longer rest periods are needed for building strength and increasing muscle size), but if you insist that you need cardio then that’s one way of doing it.
Why Weight Training Beats Cardio
Weight training can shape your body into the sculpture you want it to be. You can make your shoulders look stronger, your arms more firm, and your butt perkier. Cardio helps you lose a bit of fat all over. Truth be told, weight training will help you lose fat too, in a much more efficient way than cardio. By building muscle, you’re building the fat-burning capabilities of your most powerful machine. More benefits for the cost of one. Your body needs to be in motion as much as possible.
Our modern world doesn’t encourage the type of action that’s best for our health and vitality so you need to make a point of moving more often. Both continuous steady-state cardio and weight training can have a place in your training regime. For significant improvements in your physique and health, choose the latter.