Maintaining healthy weight (or losing a bit if needed) takes discipline, but it doesn’t have to be grueling. For many of us, we think it means sweating off calories with weight and resistance training, but to be successful we really need to combine a good regime of both strength and cardio training…and the latter can be fun!

What’s the difference?

Strength training involves any exercise that builds and increases the power of your muscles. Often this involves lifting weights and using resistance machines or bands, but it can also involve using your own body to work itself, such as push-ups or squats.

Cardio training, simply put, is anything that gets your heart going! You should be aware of your resting heart rate and ask your doctor about what your ideal cardio rate should be so you increase it to where it is safe for your own physiology and health. Stationary bikes and treadmills, as well as a lot of exercise classes, work on cardio fitness. For fun, you might try a dance class or Zumba group – way to get your body going with lots of music and great moves.

Mix up your routine to avoid boredom!

If you have the time and budget, interval training at a gym (or if you have any equipment at home) is the best overall way to combine strength and cardio workouts. You should always walk to warm up, whether it is in place, on a treadmill or outside. And do the same for cooling down after your workout.

Remember, when you start using weights or resistance bands, go gradually! Repetitions can be as important, if not more important, than the amount of weight you use. The idea is to get your muscles moving. If you want a good way to start slowly, how about a brisk walk while you are holding some weights and swinging your arms! Easy way to get stronger while getting your heart pumping!

Remember your overall health

Before you start any exercise routine, always be sure to check with your physician to see if you have any limitations. Remember that some motion is better than no motion, so start slowly. And always remember to stay hydrated! Whether you are working out inside an air-conditioned room/gym or outside, being hydrated is critical to maintaining muscle health as well as your overall health. 

Keeping hydrated will also help you fight the bacteria that can cause bad breath, so be sure to exercise with a clean tongue and lots of water! You never know who might be next to you in that dance class 😉

Why You Need Strength and Cardio Training