Which is More Important, Cardio or Strength Training?

It could be said that this is the million dollar question: which of the two options is better? Actually, it all depends on the objectives you're trying to achieve and how you take advantage of both sports trends.
Which is More Important, Cardio or Strength Training?

Last update: 18 April, 2019

Similar to a boxing match, this “battle” is still a reason for fitness experts to argue. In this article, we’ll try to answer the question of which is more important: cardio or strength training. 

Million dollar question: cardio or strength training?

Which is best? Cardio or strength training? Bands or dumbbells? Stationary bicycle or bars? Everybody asks the same questions and it’s hard to answer in a satisfactory way for everyone. 

When the objective is to achieve the best version of yourself, there are two options: cardiovascular exercises of strength. If we want to lose those extra pounds, if we need to bulk up our muscles or whatever our goals are, we have all faced this dilemma.

In fact, it could be said that it all depends on the goal you pursue. It’s not the same to go to the gym to lose weight and sweat profusely than to have well toned biceps and shoulders. Likewise, this doesn’t mean you have to pick one over the other. It means you need to know how to combine them.

Cardio or strength training? They’re both good for everything

As we said before, it’s not about doing only one of the two, but more about finding a way that both help us to achieve our goals. Some of the most common goals among athletes, that either cardio or strength training may help us achieve are:

1. Cardio or strength training for losing weight?

Frequently we hear that in order to lose weight we need to do cardio. Although this statement is true, it’s not entirely complete. On one hand, cardiovascular exercises allow us to burn calories.

However, on the other hand, we also need exercises that swap fat for muscle and boost our metabolism at rest. Then, in this case, we need to resort to strength exercises.

2. Increase endurance

This may be our objective if, for example, we want to dedicate ourselves to running or any other discipline in which endurance is fundamental. Cardio makes us more efficient, oxygenates our lungs and helps us reach the finish line in better shape.

girl running cardio exercises

Nonetheless, strength training has its advantages also: it strengthens your muscles and this translates to better performance. 

3. Eliminate stress

Every day more and more people work out because they feel too stressed. And, they also ask the same question: cardio or strength training? On one hand, cardio exercises increase serotonin levels (or happiness hormones) in our bodies. 

On the opposite side, weight lifting helps to increase endorphin production which prevents pain and effort, physically and mentally. 

4. To avoid injuries (or cure them)

You may have had an accident or wound that prevents you from enjoying life as you did before. In this case, your doctor may have recommended you to exercise. In this circumstance, either cardio or strength training may be beneficial.

Mild cardiovascular exercise, for example, walking, helps the body to become familiar with the movements used. In the case of strength training, if you lift little weight, muscles will recover strength and heal quicker. 

5. To have more self-esteem

There’s nothing better for someone who doesn’t feel good about themselves than working out, disregarding the kind of work out. Did you know that runners and swimmers have high self-confidence every time they cross the finish line? This is due to the body releasing endorphins every time you practice a sport.

As much as cardio, as well as strength training, serves to mold our bodies and makes us look “prettier”, it’s about either losing weight or toning muscles. Maybe this is what you need to improve your self-esteem?

woman doing strength training

6. To live longer

Although cardio wins in this category because it reduces obesity, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and osteoporosis, strength training prevents the accumulation of abdominal fat, responsible for many deadly diseases. 

Therefore, next time you ask yourself if it’s better to do cardio or strength training, think about what you want to achieve and how to combine both disciplines. 

As you may have seen, both have benefits that go beyond our goals or intentions. Add them to your workout session to obtain the results you expect.

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