CARDIO & STRENGTH: THE BEST FITNESS COMBO

Throughout the eighties, exercise routines for many of us consisted exclusively of the “20 Minute Workout”.

Scantily clad, hard-bodied women sporting an assortment of brightly colored leg warmers led this daily-televised cardio workout.

Big hair bounced to the rhythm of their counts as they encouraged us: “Four more, three more, two more, come on now, you can do it!”

Though the show’s target audience was an 18-35 year old female demographic, a surplus of tight camera shots at revealing angles secured its popularity with many male viewers.

There is no doubt that cardio exercise burns a lot of calories, unfortunately though, it doesn’t benefit muscle, quite the contrary. Thanks to continuing research, we’ve discovered a great deal since the leotard age.

In a Penn State study, dieters lost 21 pounds whether they performed cardiovascular or strength training. In the cardiovascular group, 6 of those pounds came from muscle while the strength trainers lost almost pure fat and gained the more desirable results.

For every 3 pounds of muscle you gain, you can expect to burn an extra 120 calories per day for doing nothing! That’s right, you continue to burn calories in an inactive state; that’s my kind of workout.

You can understand why cardiovascular exercise alone is not a viable option as we age, and why strength training is important, especially for women who are more likely to develop osteoporosis.

Sarcopenia is the loss of muscle mass, strength and function related to aging in both men and women. Many studies have shown that an increased protein intake, along with strength and resistance training, can actually reverse the effects of Sarcopenia.

But don’t be quick to put your leg warmers away. Cardio is one of the best ways to reduce stress levels, especially if you’re a stress eater.

The solution? A fitness regime that includes cardiovascular AND strength training.

For a blast from the past, watch this retro workout.
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