Free Weights vs Cardio: Which One Is Better for Your Fitness Goals?

The debate between free weights and cardio has been going on for a while now. While both types of exercises have their own set of benefits, it can be hard to determine which one is better for your fitness goals. In this article, we will explore the benefits of both free weights and cardio and help you decide which one to prioritize in your fitness routine.

Benefits of Free Weights:

Free weights refer to any weightlifting equipment that is not attached to a machine, this can include dumbbells, barbells, and kettlebells. 

Here are some benefits of incorporating free weights into your workout routine:

  1. Helps Build Strength: Free weights help in building functional strength as they engage more muscles than machines; this helps in developing overall body strength and improving muscle endurance.

  2. Increases Bone Density: Strength training with free weights has been shown to improve bone density; which can help prevent osteoporosis and other bone-related diseases.

  3. Promotes Weight Loss: Lifting weights can help you burn more calories and boost your metabolism. This, in turn, can lead to weight loss and better overall health.

  4. Increases Metabolism: As you lift weights, your body burns calories not only during the exercise but also during the recovery period this is known as the "afterburn effect," where your body continues to burn calories for up to 72 hours after your workout, this increased metabolism can help you burn fat and maintain a healthy weight over time.

Benefits of Cardio:

Cardio refers to any exercise that increases your heart rate and breathing rate. This can include activities such as running, cycling, swimming, or even dancing. Here are some benefits of incorporating cardio into your workout routine:

  1. Improves Heart Health: Cardio helps in improving heart health by strengthening the heart muscles, reducing blood pressure, and improving blood circulation.

  1. Promotes Weight Loss: Cardio is an excellent way to burn calories and lose weight. It also helps in reducing visceral fat, which is the fat that accumulates around the organs.

  1. Reduce Stress: Cardio has been shown to be an effective stress-buster as it releases endorphins that can help improve mood and reduce stress levels.

Both free weights and cardio are crucial for overall health and fitness. However, if your fitness goals include building strength, increasing bone density, promoting weight loss, and boosting metabolism, prioritizing free weights over cardio may be a more effective strategy. 

By incorporating weight lifting with free weights into your routine, you can experience the "afterburn effect," where your body continues to burn calories even after your workout, leading to sustained weight loss and a healthier metabolism. 

Ultimately, the choice between free weights and cardio should be based on your specific fitness goals and preferences, so be sure to experiment with different workouts and find what works best for you.

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