Cardiovascular exercise (Aerobic):
Cardiovascular Training is afforded its name as the main training effects are on the lungs and heart. This type of training improves heart function by increasing your cardiac output, venous return, improved heart rate, improved oxygen uptake, improved blood pressure, improving blood circulation, increased production of capillaries to leg and arms, i.e. improving the functioning of the heart. Physically active individuals have lower blood pressure, better mood and higher insulin sensitivity reducing the risk of developing diabetes (Nystoriak and Bhatnager, 2018). The type of muscles involved in this type of activity are small Type 1 (slow twitch) fibres therefore, you do not get much positive changes to the muscles and you will not see improvements in muscle size after this type of training.
The physiological effects of Strength Training are very different from cardiovascular training. When the muscles and joints are put under load by lifting weights you get increased muscle size as this type of training has effects on type 2 (fast twitch) muscle fibres. With a few strengthening sessions you get and increased firing from the brain to activate the muscles, you get increased nerve units that activate the muscle locally, improved regulation of hormones, improved function of the muscles generally, increased strength in the tendons, ligaments, collagen and bone density, bone growth, and finally, strengthening of the cartilage in the joints (Haff and Triplett, 2016).
It is for these reasons that we should do both. Strength training is really important to keep your muscles and connective tissue able to function well during cardiovascular exercise and prevent injuries and cardio is really important to keep you heart and lungs healthy.
Recommendations: What should we be doing?
Take home message: Move often to keep a healthy body and mind