It's Not All About the Cardio

November 12, 2010

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Photo: Courtesy of WellSpan

There is a common misconception of many individuals that physical activity means solely cardiovascular activity. These forms of activity could be classified as running, jogging, biking, swimming, hiking etc…and they ARE very important. However, muscular strength and endurance training plays an equally important role in physical activity. Muscle training can be categorized into two categories, Strength and Endurance. Strength training is the amount of weight lifted in one repetition of exercise while endurance is a longer duration of lower weight. Both types of training are important for the body and together they provide overall benefits.  Benefits and reasons why muscle training is essential include: improvement in physical work, sport, and, recreation; look and feel better, maintain a healthy body weight, prevent osteoporosis, and improve posture and eliminate back pain. These factors can be positive for people of all ages and gender…therefore making weight training a critical part of physical activity!

Furthermore, the type and frequency of training matters. The US Department of Health and Human Services developed guidelines in the Physical Activity Pyramid. Based on the idea of the food pyramid, it represents the amount of different types of physical activities in which individuals should participate. On average, individuals should participate in a variety of strength and endurance exercises 2-3X/week.  This can vary depending on areas of the body trained and level of advancement.  In order to maintain muscle fitness, the activities do not always have to be lifting weights.  For example, the following videos demonstrate the fact that there are several ways to exercise one muscle group:

 Two different ways to do a bicep curl:

Both machines, dumbbells, and resistance bands (which can also be used) are found in almost all gyms. There are small differences in the types of equipment, so it is important to find the one that works best for you. Although the UNH gym does not have the exact machine used in the video, it does have a bicep curl machine and a variety of different dumbbells. Next time you’re in the gym or thinking about working out…take a look for these types of equipment and don’t forget- it’s not ALL about the cardio.


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