One of the biggest debates in the fitness world is weightlifting versus cardio. This is a sensitive topic because many people have strong opinions both ways. I believe the two sides are so different that we shouldn’t even be comparing them! Both have their own distinct benefits because they are completely different approaches to fitness. This post will explain both sides. Beginning with a formal definition of the two:
Weightlifting: the act, art, or sport of lifting barbells of given poundages in a prescribed manner, as a competitive event or conditioning exercise.
Cardio: any exercise that raises the heart rate.
These two definitions are certainly different! Right? Weightlifting is geared to help the muscular system while cardio helps to improve the cardiovascular system. Both systems are very important when considering your overall health. If you are unaware of the stereotypes, many people view weightlifters as big bodybuilders; and on the other hand, many people view cardio enthusiasts as long-distance runners. I wish I could prevent people from thinking this way! However, people think this way because there is an ounce of truth to it. Many weightlifters would never long-distance run and many long-distance runners would never step foot in the weight room. This is a big-time problem!
Why is the cardiovascular system Important? – I believe it is important because it directly relates to the heart. Wait a minute though, the heart is a muscle! Cardio is like weightlifting for the heart! Woah. While the heart is not visible, we can indeed change the size of it. Here is why: Cardio exercises work many muscles in the body. Therefore, when completing the workouts, capillaries deliver more oxygen to cells in your muscles to burn more fat. The longer or harder you push in workouts, the more oxygen your muscles need. The heart must get bigger to be able to keep up with this process. For example, the heart of a professional athlete (like Michael Phelps) should be larger in physical size than a person who never leaves the couch at home. This is because of the various levels that they push their heart.
Why is the muscular system important? – I believe it is important because it helps to support the movement of the entire body. This system covers 650 muscles! Muscles control walking, sitting, standing, eating, laughing, and many other bodily functions. Unlike the heart, many of the muscles in this system are visible through the skin. When completing weightlifting exercises, the goal is to break or tear down the muscles. When this happens, the body repairs itself. However, our body is very smart. It knows that the muscle broke down because it was not big enough to support the weight. Therefore, when our body recovers, it grows back bigger and stronger to handle heavier loads. Thus, the muscle size of a person correlates to the load they can lift. For example, the muscles of a person who loads furniture for a living should be larger than someone who works at a desk and never goes to the gym.
As you can see, both are important! One is not better than the other. What I want readers to realize is: to create a great all-around workout routine, we need to include both weightlifting and cardio. These are two must have pillars when living a healthy life. Having strong muscles and a strong heart will leave you feeling unstoppable! You have my word!
Do you know anyone who hates either cardio or weightlifting? Post below! How can we inform people of the benefits of each? I am calling you to make an impact! The world is too big for only one person to spread the news. We can tackle this together!
However, as your Health Cop, it would be wrong of me if I failed to mention the negatives of each. Well, not negatives, but instead where people might go wrong. However, this takes a little bit of explaining. So, stay tuned as I dive into these topics a little deeper!
Remember, both the cardiovascular and muscular system are important when considering our overall health!