Cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of death in the United States. In order to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, research on physical activity and exercise have focused primarily on aerobic exercise. Aerobic exercise includes exercises that increase heart rate and breathing rate for a prolonged period of time. Some examples include walking, jogging, biking, running, swimming, and dancing. Many studies indicate that aerobic exercise can improve cardiovascular health by reducing the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure.
However, research has shown that resistance training has beneficial effects on health as well. Resistance training is any type of strength training where muscles contract against a resistance (weight). Examples include weightlifting, resistance bands, and pushups. Many studies have indicated that resistance training is beneficial for improving bone density, increasing lean muscle tissue, reducing the risk of osteoporosis, gaining better control of body weight, and even preventing injuries.
In extensive studies, the results show that aerobic exercise and resistance training both improve cardiovascular health. Researchers conclude that both types of exercise should be included as part of a cardiovascular health program. Make sure to check in with your doctor before starting or changing any exercise program.
It is important to have a balanced exercise routine that includes both aerobic and resistance training. When you are deciding how to fit these two types of workouts into your routine, consider the time commitment for each type of workout and go from there. Start with one or the other and gradually add in more variety as you get stronger and meet certain goals (e.g., weight loss). You can also work out at different intensities: light intensity, moderate intensity, high-intensity interval training – all will help improve cardiovascular health!
The key is to make exercise fun, that way you will release neurotransmitters in your brain that signal reward. That way you will want to keep doing these activities naturally.
It’s easy to get bored with the same old routine and feel like you don’t have enough time in your day for exercise. But if you can make it fun, then you’ll be more likely to stick with it long-term. One way to do this is by adding variety. Start off with one type of workout and gradually add in others as you progress. For instance, start out doing cardio exercises exclusively but slowly incorporate weight training when your body gets stronger. You can also do high-intensity interval workouts – they are intense bursts of energy that will burn calories even after the work has stopped. Add these types of exercises into your cardio workout in post-workout periods, when you’re already warmed up. You can also add some strength training or cardio into your workouts with friends – that way, it’s more fun and social. Soon enough, exercise will become a habit.