The Difference Between Aerobic Exercise and Strength Training

You may be surprised to learn that there isn’t as much difference between aerobic exercise and strength training as you think. At least, not as far as your muscles are concerned. You see, your muscles don’t know where the stimulus is coming from, they just know that they need to adapt and get stronger in response to the overload. That’s why strength training can do as much good for your heart as aerobic exercise–strength training technically is aerobic exericse, because they both get your heart pumping hard.

Strength Training Can Improve Your Heart and Aerobic Exercise Can Improve Your Muscles

On the one hand, you have strength training. On the other hand, you have aerobic exercise (what we think of as running, biking, kickboxing, swimming, etc). For most people, there is a big wall between the two and they are firmly entrenched on one side. Here comes the controversial part: Strength training can improve your cardiovascular system and aerobic exercise can strengthen your muscles!

In order for the body to make a positive change it has to be exposed to stresses that it isn’t accustomed to (we call this an overload). Also, we only have one brain. Our heart and lungs and muscles don’t have brains. By this I mean that those parts of our body only respond to stress, they don’t know what is causing the stress (e.g. a dumbbell or a 5K).

The Takeaway

So here is the truth: the only way for positive changes to be made to your body, whatever the modality is this: HARD WORK. You have to work at a high level of your working capacity. There is no two ways about it, no magic pills, or special form of exercise. Whether you’re performing aerobic exercise or strength training, just do it!

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