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STRENGTH TRAINING VS AEROBIC EXERCISE: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

Mya Care Blogger 06 Apr 2022
STRENGTH TRAINING VS AEROBIC EXERCISE: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

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WHO recommends that a healthy adult spend at least 150 to 300 minutes performing moderate-intensity exercises or at least 75 to150 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercises per week.

It is also recommended to do strength exercises that involve all major muscle groups on 2 or more days a week for additional health benefits. So, what do aerobic exercises and strength exercises mean? And what kind of exercises does each group include? Read on to learn more.

Different forms of exercises

There are various forms of exercises but we can divide the exercises into three main types.

1. Aerobic Exercises

According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), aerobic exercise is an activity that uses large muscle groups and can be maintained continuously for some time. It is rhythmic. In aerobic exercise, breathing controls the amount of oxygen that can make it to the muscles to help them burn fuel and move.

Examples of aerobic exercises are swimming, cycling, walking, hiking, dancing, rowing, running, jumping ropes, and so on.

Benefits of Aerobic Exercise:

  • Improves cardiovascular function and decreases the risk of heart disease.
  • Decreases resting heart rate and lowers blood pressure.
  • Increases the level of HDL (good cholesterol)
  • Helps to better control the blood sugar level.
  • Assists in weight management and/or weight loss.
  • Improves lung function and endurance.

2. Strength training Exercises

As per the definition provided by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), strength exercise is a voluntary activity that includes the use of weight machines, exercise bands, hand-held weights, or one's body weight (e.g. push-ups or sit-ups). This exercise increases muscle strength by making muscles work against a weight or force.

Examples of strength training exercises are weightlifting, sprints, interval training, isometric exercise, and plyometrics.

Benefits of Strength Exercise:

  • Improves muscle strength and tone protecting joints from injury.
  • Assists in weight management.
  • Increases muscle-to-fat ratio.
  • Improves endurance or stamina
  • Prevents or controls the progression of chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, back pain, depression and obesity.
  • Increases pain threshold.
  • Improves posture.
  • Decreases risk of injury.
  • Reduces the risk of osteoporosis by increasing bone density and strength
  • Psychological benefits (boost in self-confidence, improved body image, and mood) may enhance performance in everyday tasks.
  • Improves sleep

3. Stretching Exercises

Flexibility is improved by stretching regularly. Improved flexibility helps us prevent injuries while performing everyday body movements, and during exercise. Stretching also reduces muscle tension, increases circulation, and improves posture.

Benefits of Stretching Exercise:

  • Improves flexibility, mobility, and balance
  • Increases the range of joint movements
  • Improves the performance in physical activities
  • Decreases the risk of injuries
  • Increases blood flow to different groups of muscles thus enabling an effective muscle function.
  • Improves efficiency in daily activities.

How does aerobic exercise differ from strength exercise?

Although we tend to feel that every exercise is the same and has the same physiological effects on our body, there is a significant difference between aerobic and strength exercise.

  • Aerobic exercise requires the presence of oxygen i.e., involves transport and utilization of oxygen whereas strength exercise does not necessarily require oxygen transport and utilization.
  • Aerobic exercise increases muscle endurance and blood capillaries size. Muscle size and strength are increased by strength exercise.
  • Fats are burned only during the workout while performing aerobic exercises. In  contrast, fat burn continues and also occurs while in rest for people performing strength exercises.
  • Aerobic exercises can be sustained for an extended period. Strength exercises can be done for a shorter period since lactic acid builds up and we start to feel pain.
  • Aerobic exercises are mainly low intensity and can be performed comfortably while breathing through the nose. Strength exercises are high intensity and require mouth breathing to perform.
  • Aerobic exercise is helpful for weight reduction whereas strength exercise increases muscle mass and hence, strength.
  • Aerobic exercise improves stamina while strength exercise increases power.

The Bottom line

WHO has recommended different forms of exercise to maintain a healthy body. The recommended duration varies significantly on which forms of exercise we chose to do. There are mainly three forms of exercises: aerobic, strength, and stretching exercises.

Physiological and psychological benefits from each form of exercise can vary. It is necessary to know what are the examples of different forms of exercise. Thus, we should decide the exercise regimen we should be following based on our goals, limitations, fitness level, preferences, and availability.

The most vital part of following a specific exercise routine is to consider these factors and learn about them from various sources and our own experiences. This can help us draft an exercise regimen that can be successful in reaching our goals as well as keep us healthy and happy.

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