Life and fitness are all about balance.
Most people that go to the gym fall into one of two categories. They either want to gain muscle, or lose weight. People who want to gain muscle tend to fear cardio because they don’t want to lose their gains. People who want to lose weight tend to skip strength training because they don’t want to look too buff. I’m here to tell you that just like life, good physical fitness is all about balance.
Studies have shown that people who combine weekly cardio with at least two days of full-body strength training can reduce overall mortality rates by 30%. Even people who only exercise 1-3 hours per week showed a sharp decline in mortality risk. So the moral of the story is, any exercise is better than no exercise at all.
Cardiovascular activity is healthy for you not just because it promotes weight loss. Cardio also increases the amount of oxygen in your blood and helps reduce the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, liver disease, joint disease, high cholesterol, sleep apnea and acid reflux. This helps your overall health, to say nothing of the stress and anxiety relief.
Strength training helps you build muscle, which helps with sugar and glucose metabolism. Stronger muscles also relieves pressure on joints, and also helps with weight loss, as your body burns more calories to maintain your musculature. Basically, a combination of these two types of exercise is the perfect recipe for improving your overall health.
So how do you get a good balance of strength training and cardio? And how much is enough? Basically, you should aim for at least 75-150 minutes of exercise per week. Ideally, you should do 30 minutes of physical exercise per day. Walking around the block, mowing the lawn, or walking the stairs at work counts. Even if you did something simple like walking every morning after breakfast three times per week, and hitting the gym twice you will notice a remarkable difference in not just your overall health, but the way you feel on a day to day basis.