Strength and Aerobic Fitness

Strength training or aerobic training: Which is better for my health?
Learn why both are important to maintain a healthy lifestyle and improve quality of life.
Strength and Aerobic Fitness - Videos

Instructors

Food,Families and Health

More by Laurie Weinreb-Welch, MPH, MCHES 

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- [Voiceover] Strength Training or Aerobic Training: Which is Better for My Health?

The simple answer to this question is both.

"Why are both strength training "and aerobic training good for my health?" you might ask.

Let's take a look.

Physical fitness is the ability of your body to carry out daily tasks with minimal effort.

With better physical fitness comes more energy and less pain and discomfort throughout the day.

To achieve optimal health you should include exercises that focus on the four physical fitness areas.

They are: aerobic fitness, muscular fitness, flexibility, and body composition.

The first physical fitness area is aerobic fitness.

Aerobic fitness helps your body to use oxygen you breathe for energy.

It also strengthens your heart.

The second physical fitness area is muscular fitness.

Muscular fitness aids your muscles' abilities to perform tasks.

The next physical area is flexibility.

Flexibility enhances the movement of your joints, and the ability of your muscles to stretch through an entire range of motion.

Body composition is the final fitness area.

Body composition refers to fat tissue to lean tissue ratio.

Too much body fat puts you at risk for developing many health problems such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and muscular skeletal problems.

All four of the areas we've just discussed are interrelated.

Walking is a great example.

Walking is primarily aerobic activity.

Your ability to walk however also depends on your muscular fitness, and the flexibility of your hips.

If you have greater hip and leg strength, your body may carry you farther and faster without losing your breath.

Also if your body composition is made up of a small amount of fat, there is less unneeded weight to carry along with you.

So what exactly is aerobic training?

Aerobic training is any regular activity that makes your heart and lungs work harder than they do during regular daily activities.

Most aerobic exercises keep your whole body moving in a continuous and rhythmic manner.

Some examples are biking, walking, running, dancing, skating and rowing.

As a result of regular aerobic training, your heart, lungs, and blood vessels function more efficiently.

This means that it's easier for the heart to pump blood and oxygen to the active parts of the body.

This is called aerobic endurance or aerobic capacity, and this gives you more stamina.

Aerobic training can have many health benefits.

These include lowered blood pressure, lowered risk of heart disease and diabetes, improved mood, increased energy level, better sleep, and higher self-esteem.

For optimum results, aerobic training should be performed five to seven days a week for 30 continuous minutes each day.

So what is strength training?

Strength training used to be something only athletes and those looking to enhance their physique took part in, but not any more.

Today there are more proven benefits to strength training that the general population can take advantage of.

Strength training typically involves weightlifting or the use of training machines and equipment.

It has many benefits as part of a fitness program.

Strength training keeps bones strong and allows for physically active lifestyle, along with more energy and less risk of injury.

Increased muscular strength and endurance can also result from strength training.

This can lead to the ability to work longer before tiring, increased bone strength, decreased risk of osteoporosis, and improved balance.

For example, if you maintain strength as you age, you can continue to lift groceries in and out of your car and put them away.

Strength training programs should only be performed twice a week with at least one day of rest between each training day.

In order to condition all the muscle groups, at least eight to 10 different strength training exercises should be performed.

For your safety, if you are not familiar with strength training, seek the advice of a certified personal trainer, or an exercise specialist to learn the proper technique and workloads for you.

You can also join a Penn State Extension Strong Women class near you for a safe and effective strength training program.

So which is better for your health?

Strength training or aerobic training?

As you can see, they are equally important and along with flexibility and body composition contribute to good health.

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