Weightlifting produces many health benefits, including stronger muscles and bones, better posture, and better joint flexibility. But lifting weights may not be enough to keep all your body systems in optimal condition. Supplementing weight training with cardio exercise can boost your overall health profile.
Burn More Calories
Lifting weights does burn calories, but a cardio workout can burn more calories in a shorter amount of time. Depending on your weight and the intensity of your workout, you may burn as many as twice or three times the calories in the same amount of time as weight lifting. For example, a half hour of fast running can burn over 500 calories.
But even moderate aerobic exercise such as walking briskly or cycling, when done regularly, can contribute to your overall calorie expenditure and help manage your weight, especially when combined with a diet filled with leafy greens, vegetables, and lean proteins.
Reduce Your Risk of Heart Attack and Stroke
It’s called “cardio exercise” for good reason—exercise that gets your heart beating faster does wonders for your cardiovascular health. Adopting a healthy lifestyle, including exercise, can reduce stroke risk. An aerobic workout lowers blood pressure, strengthens the heart and lungs, and oxygenates the blood.
Cardio exercise also helps keep your blood flowing smoothly through your blood vessels by reducing low-density cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol) while increasing high-density cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol). High bad cholesterol levels can lead to the build-up of plaque on the walls of veins and arteries. These blockages are a major cause of heart disease and stroke.
Strengthen Your Immune System
A lesser-known benefit of cardio exercise is the positive effect it can have on the immune system. As cardio raises your heart rate and causes your blood to move faster, your body releases more germ-fighting chemicals and proteins that make up your immune system, which then circulate throughout your body. The deep, rapid breathing associated with aerobic exercise can also flush bacteria and other toxins from your lungs.
Even more, a brisk aerobic workout reduces stress, which is not only beneficial to your cardiovascular health but also gives a boost to your immune system.
Weightlifting, whether done with free weights or machines, has numerous health benefits. Adding cardio to your workout routine will only enhance your weight training efforts. A combination of both weight-bearing and aerobic exercise will keep your body fit and healthy.
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