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Strength training myth #3 – Cardio is more important than strength training for overall health



The common belief that cardiovascular training is superior to strength training for overall health and longevity has long shaped fitness goals and trends especially for the elderly. However, both types of exercise offer unique and complementary benefits that are important for a long, healthy life. Cardiovascular Training is often seen as the gold standard for fitness, cardiovascular (aerobic) exercise, such as running, cycling, and swimming, is celebrated for its ability to improve heart health. Regular aerobic exercise strengthens the heart muscle, improves blood circulation, and enhances lung capacity. It is effective in managing body weight, lowering blood pressure, and reducing the risk of chronic conditions like heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Furthermore, cardiovascular workouts release endorphins, reducing stress and enhancing mental health.


Strength Training

Conversely, strength training (resistance exercise), focuses on building muscle mass, improving bone density, and increasing overall body strength. It plays a crucial role in maintaining metabolic health by boosting resting metabolic rate and preventing age-related muscle loss (sarcopenia). Stronger muscles improve mobility and functional independence, which are vital as we age. Resistance training also supports joint health and can alleviate symptoms of arthritis, contributing to better quality of life.  Strength training has also shown to help mood, stress reduction, depression and anxiety. While the cardio-versus-strength debate persists, research increasingly supports a balanced approach. Combining both forms of exercise yields the most significant benefits for longevity. A well-rounded fitness regimen improves cardiovascular endurance and muscular strength, optimizing the body’s ability to function efficiently. For instance, cardiovascular fitness reduces the risk of heart disease, while muscle strength is linked to lower mortality rates and better physical functioning in older adults.


Synergy and Integration

 The integration of cardiovascular and strength training creates a synergistic effect, enhancing overall health beyond what either can achieve alone. Cardio enhances endurance, while strength training preserves and builds muscle, together fostering resilience against the physical decline associated with aging. Therefore, embracing both forms of exercise is essential for achieving optimal health and longevity.


In conclusion, the myth that cardiovascular training is inherently more important than strength training is outdated. Both are vital components of a comprehensive fitness program for the athlete of aging.




Nate Moe

Personal Strength Coach

Helping adults train for the most extreme sport of all, aging well.  Become an athlete of aging today

605-695-0496

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