Aerobic vs Resistance Training

Aerobic vs Resistance Training

Donna Hayek, RD


Is one better than the other? Should you do one rather than the other?

Well, that depends on what your goals are.  Are you looking to lose weight or are you looking to keep your heart strong and prevent disease?

The answer to these questions is that you need to do both for optimal health.

Aerobic or cardio exercise has always been recommended for heart health, but with little attention paid to resistance or strength training. With recent studies, we are finding out that weight training is as important to heart health as aerobic exercise. In fact, a combination of both exercises yields the best outcome. Furthermore, beneficial changes to someone’s physiology contribute to a lower risk of diabetes, high cholesterol, heart attack and stroke.

Both aerobic and strength training are advantageous for weight loss. Doing both will increase metabolism, thereby providing quicker and sustainable weight loss. 

How much exercise is needed to reach these goals?

According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans and the American College of Sports Medicine, adults should do at least 150-300 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise weekly, or 75-100 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise weekly.  Weight training should be done at least two times per week on non-aerobic days. Flexibility and balance also become concerns as we age, so practicing yoga or stretching is recommended 1-2 times weekly.

What types of exercises should I do?

You should perform exercises which make you happy, and ones that are attainable with your lifestyle. Do you like to exercise alone or in a group setting? Do you need a trainer or partner to keep you accountable?  Do you like to exercise outside or do you prefer a gym setting?  Experiment to see what is right for you!

Remember, it takes both exercise and eating healthy to attain your goals!