When it comes to health, there are various ways of ensuring that we are fit. There are various ways of achieving this from checking our diet, to hitting the gym, to running/jogging, aerobics, lifting weights or even by taking long luxurious walks.
The problem comes in when we need to achieve our targets fast. What should we do more? Which method is more effective? Should I run or lift weights? Let’s talk about this last part. Which one is a more effective means of keeping fit? Is it running or is it lifting the weights?
This might be the most popular method of keeping fit. According to Running USA, a survey was done and it showed that a shocking 30million people had ran at least 50 times in the USA alone in the year 2012. Going by this, it would seem that many people love running. But why would anyone love this tedious, sweaty, exhausting exercise? This is why:
Advantages of running
I. Weight loss- this has to be the most obvious reason we run. It is said to be the most aggressive exercise in the calorie burning department with an upward of up to 1000 calories per hour for some people.
II. Strengthening muscles- running helps tone and strengthen the legs and promoting blood flow to the whole body in the process helping arteries retain their elasticity preventing diseases such as heart attacks
III. Psychological benefits-this exercise not only boosts your self confidence, it also lowers stress levels and thus reduces chances of going down with depression. Running alleviates the feel good hormone production which explains the clear mind and good mood you experience after a good run.
IV. General prevention of disease- some diseases can be controlled by regular exercise and running being the easiest, cheapest and safest, people with diabetes, breast cancer, stroke, high blood pressure or such health related conditions are mostly advised to take it up.
V. Improving health overall- even if you are very comfortable with your weight, the simple task of running once in awhile makes sure that your body is in check by lowering the level of bad cholesterol while raising the good cholesterol levels. It also expands the lung capacity, improves the immunity and generally keeping you healthy.
Vi. Low cost, running can be incredibly cheap, just a pair of trainer is required. If you want to run in the home then a treadmill will set you back about $1000
Drawbacks of running
As much as running is highly recommended, one cannot deny its negative aspect in some levels. These includes the quite common complaint-knee fracture, low back pains, joint fractures and from a recent study, growth of plaque in the arteries. Although these drawbacks are at times grossly exaggerated, its benefits clearly outweigh the disadvantages.
As a method of keeping fit that is quickly gaining popularity even for women, lifting weights mostly builds muscle other than burn fat. Don’t get me wrong, this exercise does promote weight loss; instead muscle takes the place of the lost fat. It is a very intense activity that is believed to promote strength, muscular size and power, and while this is true, it comes with its own share of benefits. These include:
Advantages of lifting weights
I. Reduction of health risk- by increasing the heart rate, it lowers chances of cardiovascular diseases, lowering blood pressure and increasing resistance to type 2 diabetes.
II. Results are relatively quick and visible compared to running which may take quite a bit of time before any noticeable impact.
III. A good rehabilitation for injury- Lifting weights is a great way of encouraging faster healing of damaged tissue. It also strengthens body tissue to avoid the impact of an injury to the body.
IV. Alteration of body composition- being an intense work out mode, it accelerates the rate at which the body burns calories while increasing oxygen consumption at the same time thus turning on the recovery mode from the strain.
V. Lifting weights increases bone density, In the process lowering the rate of aging and loss of bones as one ages.
VI. Improved physical capacity- due to the buildup of muscle, weight lifting allows easier execution of the daily activities from walking, to working to sitting and thus generally improving the quality of life.
Disadvantages of lifting weights
However, as great an idea it is to lift weights, it does not come without its share of consequences. It goes without saying that this is a very risky technique which requires close supervision as lack thereof might lead to disastrous injuries if not done carefully.
Both running and weight lifting come with their special benefits. It all depends on what one hopes to achieve. If you want faster and noticeable results, weight lifting could be for you, on the other hand, if you want longer lasting, less intense, slowly accumulating results, then running is for you. However, in order to achieve even better results, combining both of these exercises is the best idea.