Why Cardio Exercise Alone Does Not Work to Burn Fat and Lose Weight

Cardio certainly has its place in every fitness program but it should be a part of a balanced program including cardio, strength training, and a healthy diet.

The key to losing body fat and keeping it off is strength training. Lean muscle is the driving force behind your metabolism and the only way to increase your metabolism or burn more calories at rest, is to increase lean muscle through strength training. For the women that are afraid to get “too bulky” from strength training that is simply a myth.

The more lean muscle mass you have, the less fat you are likely to have. The reason for this is that muscle actually burns fat. Muscle helps the body burn calories for hours after a workout. Studies have shown people who lift weights have an even lower fat mass percentage than those who do aerobic exercise alone.

Muscle Helps Develop Better Body Mechanics

Strength training has benefits that go well beyond the appearance of nicely toned muscles. Your balance and coordination will improve, as will your posture. More importantly, if you have poor flexibility and balance, strength training can reduce your risk of falling by as much as 40 percent, a crucial benefit, especially as you get older.

Muscle Builds Strength

Most people don’t stop to consider that the more strength you have, the less likely you may be to get injured. If you are an avid runner, cyclist or swimmer it might make sense to lift some weights so your body is stronger and can perform longer and more efficiently without getting injured.

Muscle Reshapes The Body

What if you just dropped fifty pounds through diet and a nightly jog through your neighborhood but when you look in the mirror, things still jiggle and you still carry weight in the same spots you always did? The best way to change this is to shape your body through building muscle. This will tighten, firm, tone, and target those trouble spots that you just can’t seem to get rid of.

Muscle Fights Disease

The highest numbers of women who get osteoporosis in later years are ones of slim build. Doctors always say that one of the best ways to fight this debilitating bone loss is to do weight-bearing activities, which increase bone density. Muscle has also been shown in major studies to fight the onset of type two diabetes, build the heart muscle to fight heart disease, and even help those who suffer from arthritis to be more symptom free.

Muscle also supports overall immunity. This is because muscle supplies the immune system with the disease-fighting amino acid glutamine. So, the more muscle you have the more glutamine is supplied to the immune system.

Research shows that building and maintaining muscle can speed up metabolism. This research goes on to say that “muscle burns ten to twelve times the calories per pound each day that fat does. You’re boosting your metabolism not just during exercise but all day.”

Only use safe and well-maintained equipment. Faulty equipment will significantly increase your risk of injury. Warm up and cool down thoroughly. Incorporate slow, sustained stretches. Wear appropriate clothing – natural fibers ‘breathe’ better than synthetics, and multiple layers of clothing are preferable to one bulky layer. Don’t forget to breathe – exhale at the point of greatest exertion rather than holding your breath.

Control the weights at all times – don’t throw them up and down, or use momentum to ‘swing’ the weights through their range of motion. Make sure you use correct lifting technique. If you are unsure, consult with a reputable personal trainer. Incorrect technique can slow your progress, or even cause injuries. Ensure you move the weight through your full range of motion. This not only works the muscle fully, but reduces the risk of joint injury.

With strength training your muscles need time to recover, so it should only be done on alternate days. Always take some time to warm up and cool down after strength training.

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