Cardio or Weight TrainingIt’s a fairly common question – which provides more benefit to me, cardio or weight training? While both are good for different reasons, the simple answer is that both are essential for a well-rounded exercise plan. Let’s take a closer look and see what specific benefits they provide.

Starting with weight training, this is all about building muscle mass. There are two basic options here, free weights (including hand weights) and weight machines. Either will work, and there’s no clear evidence that points to one or the other being superior, although unless you have a gym membership, weight machines are likely to be too expensive for the average person to buy and keep in their home. If you’re doing your weight training at home then, the most cost effective solution is free weights, but ultimately, the choice is up to you.

While weight training is superb at adding muscle mass to your body, bear in mind that if you are suffering from weight problems, adding muscle mass will actually cause you to gain weight in the short run. The reason? Muscle tissue is sixteen times the density of fat. Even if you’re losing fat due to changes in your diet, you’re still almost certain to gain weight initially as you bulk up.

Cardio is especially important for the elderly, but everyone can benefit from a good cardio routine. The best part here is that there’s no special equipment needed. A brisk walk can be a good cardio workout, but if you’re willing to spend some money, a stationary bike or a rowing machine will take your efforts to the next level.

The great benefit to cardio workouts is the fact that they improve your circulation and help your muscles use oxygen more efficiently. For this reason, most people start with cardio workouts, and that’s an excellent place to begin, but ultimately, if you want to optimize your health, you’ll want to do both.