No fitness debate is as contentious as that of cardio vs. weightlifting. That’s why we’re here: to set the record straight. Whether you want to slash fat, boost your metabolism, improve your bone health, ward off injury, or feel like a badass, your best bet is to grab something heavy to lift. Let’s talk about why exactly weightlifting is better than cardio.
That’s right — we ride or die with the weights. Below are seven reasons you should too. And hey, if you’re already on team strength training, these perks might just make you want to lift even more.
7 Reasons Why Weightlifting is Better Than Cardio
1. You’ll Build Muscle, Which is Vital for Even the Simplest of Everyday Tasks
Not to blow your mind, but lifting weights helps you build muscle. Woah.
In fact, one study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology showed that even lifting light weights is effective at building muscle. While “light” is a subjective measurement, the researchers behind the study concluded that lifting even just 30% of your one rep max could induce muscle hypertrophy.
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It sounds obvious, but the benefits of having extra muscle can’t be overlooked. They literally allow you to complete even nominal day-to-day activities like getting out of bed, getting a coffee cup from the cabinet, putting away a box of old photos, or sitting down and getting up from the toilet.
In the long term, this means you’re able to stay independent as you age. Research has shown that muscle mass is critical for health and survival. Survival!
2. You’ll Torch More Calories Than You Would With Strict Cardio
Strength training helps boost your metabolic rate — which is the rate that your body burns calories throughout the day, including when you’re brushing your teeth, packing your gym bag, or just sitting on the couch reading Tia-Clair Toomey’s autobiography.
Straight cardio burns calories while you’re engaging in it, and that’s in. Lifting is different. Research has shown that resistance training boosts the resting metabolic rate of both men and women. In other words, strength training will help your body burn calories and fat when you’re at the gym and long after you’ve left.
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3. … And That Means You’ll Look More Defined
It’s simple math: build muscle + losing fat= more muscle definition. Need some proof? Take a look at some of the most inspiring women in functional fitness.
Fitness is a marathon, not a sprint. And if you want to look healthy and lean in the long run, the answer is clear: you need strength training
4. Your Joint Pain May Subside
If you have painful joints, go ahead and toss the CBD oil and NSAIDs. Strength training can help improve joint health. In fact, research has shown that lifting can help reduce joint pain for folks with osteoarthritis — a condition characterized by weak muscles and painful joints.
5. You’ll Strengthen Your Bones
The ultimate multitasker, weight lifting doesn’t just strengthen your muscles — it strengthens your bones.
One study published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research suggests strength training can be used to manage osteoporosis in high-risk groups for low-bone-density, like postmenopausal women. The researchers also added that lifting poses no safety issues or increased risk of bone fracture.
6. You’ll Slash Risk Your Risk of Chronic Diseases
Strength training can help ward off a long list of chronic diseases. For instance, one study found resistance training three times a week for six months led to less oxidative stress — which can lessen our cancer risk. Another study found that lifting is good for our hearts, and a third study found that strength training can help improve blood-glucose levels in folks with type II diabetes. NBD.
7. You’ll Feel Like a Badass
The payoff of tossing around weights? You’ll feel like a powerhouse. And research has shown that lifting weights comes with a serious dose of self-esteem. So not only will lifting change how you look, but it will also change your attitude about how you look (even if there are no actual aesthetic results), too.
Weightlifting will help you look good, feel good, and live longer. And because there are so many different ways to lift weights — power cleans, deadlift, dumbbell overhead lunges, shoulder-to-overhead, squats, etc. — you don’t have to worry about getting bored.
Sorry, treadmills, but you just can’t compete.
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