The Benefits of Combining Cardio and Strength
By now it's a pretty well-known fact: The number one reason people give for not exercising is lack of time. They simply can't find an hour, or even thirty minutes for that matter, to exercise. So they end up not doing anything at all. Time is the number one problem when it comes to working out.
Given that time is at a premium, when it comes to exercise you want to maximize your time and efforts, correct? It only makes sense. Why in the world would you choose to do more if you didn't have to? Yet far too many people do just that, working out longer instead of smarter, focusing on quantity instead of quality.
When it comes to being as healthy as possible, your exercise program should consist of both cardiovascular exercise as well as strength training. Both have numerous yet differing benefits that allow us to look better, feel better and live longer. They complement each other and you cannot be truly healthy without both.
Contrary to what you may read, one is not "better" than the other. Both forms of exercise are crucial to our health and wellness. We need to engage in both modalities.
So, if time as a factor and we need to do both cardio as well as strength training, wouldn't it make sense to combine the two if possible? Instead of having them be two separate workouts, wouldn't it be incredible if we could put the two together?
The great news? You can.
Combining cardio and strength can be accomplished in two ways: First, by the manner in which you structure your workout; and second, by the specific type of machine you use. The goal is to elevate your heart rate while challenging your muscles at the same time.
Circuit-training is one of the simplest yet most effective ways to combine cardio and strength. Resistance exercises are performed with little to no rest in between, thus keeping the heart rate elevated while challenging your muscles. You can also add short cardio intervals like burpees or jumping jacks for even greater cardiovascular benefits.
Now, thanks to advances in exercise science and fitness technology, you can also get your cardio and strength together with just one machine. A great example of this is the BowFlex HVT, which stands for Hybrid Velocity Training. One definition of "hybrid" is "A thing made by combining two different elements." When it comes to the HVT, those two elements are cardio and strength. It is a 21st century version of a strength tower, utilizing both fan as well as magnetic resistance to burn calories while building muscle.
Should you ALWAYS combine cardio and strength? No. Absolutes in fitness are never the correct answer. Some days you might want to just go for a walk or a run. Other days you might feel like getting in a great arm workout with dumbbells. Much depends on your mood as well as the time you have available. But, when you are pressed for time and want to get the very most out of your exercise session, torch calories and tone your muscles together.