Why You Need Weight Training and Aerobic Exercise to Lose Weight

Most people, whether or not they are regular exercisers or just starting out, tend to have an exercise preference.  Some prefer strength (weight) training, and some prefer aerobic exercise, also known to fitness enthusiasts as “cardio”.  Although we all have our preference, many of us still choose to do both, but with more focus on one over the other.  Others may eliminate the other type of exercise completely.

In reality, it is best to do both aerobic exercise and strength training not only for your health, but also to help you lose weight.  Each type of exercise is very different and offers different benefits for your body, especially in regards to fat loss.

Aerobic exercise will burn more calories than strength training, and the more calories you burn (within reason), the more fat tissue you lose. Aerobic exercise will also keep your metabolism higher so you are burning more calories throughout the day.  It improves your endurance, so that you can live a more active life, and thus burn even more calories.

However, strength training, which is often overlooked by many women, is also a great way to boost your metabolism and lose fat tissue.  Muscle tissue burns, on average, about 3 to 5 times the amount of calories as fat tissue (pound for pound), so by merely having more muscle tissue, you can burn more calories all day long.

Also, having more muscle tissue will often support your aerobic activities (for example, having muscular legs helps you ride a bike longer) so that you can work harder and longer, again, burning more calories.

Although losing weight is complicated and there are many factors that affect your weight, and weight loss, one thing that scientists do know is that burning calories through activity, along with a sensible diet, is still considered the best way to lose weight.  So the more calories you can burn through both aerobic exercise and strength training, the better off you will be.

Keep in mind, however, that when starting a strength training program, you should start out with a beginner program and lighter weights, with moderate repetitions, and 1-2 sets each exercise.  In other words, start out easy and progress gradually.  Your muscles need to get used to the additional work for optimal results and to avoid injury.  Also with strength training, it is good to have a qualified personal trainer develop an effective and safe program for you that incorporates a long-term plan, with gradual increases and program modifications.

About Kimberly Dawson, M.S.

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