According to Eric Villiagran, cardiovascular training provides a good foundation when it comes to exercise, offering benefits in weight control, endurance, and overall cardiovascular health. Unfortunately, as we age, cardio exercises alone can’t help us preserve precious muscle mass. Check out what Eric has to say about the combination of both cardio and strength training in his blog below.
Your Beatin’ Heart
Cardio training is an essential form of exercise for overall health. Typically, we picture cardio as hours on a treadmill, but it’s possible to achieve a good cardio workout from walking, sprinting, swimming, or La Jolla Sports dance.
Heart rate is the number of contractions the heart makes in one minute, and this is measured in beats per minute (BPM). Knowing your BPM is integral to cardio training, because as you exercise, your body speeds up its demand for oxygen. In turn, the heart increases its BPM, allowing more oxygen-rich blood to travel through your body.
Periodically taking your pulse at the wrist or gently pressing on the side of your neck allows you to monitor your BPM. Count the beats for ten seconds then multiply by six (e.g., 20 beats per 10 seconds x 6 = 120 BPM). There’s also an easy formula for determining your ideal heart rate or BPM: from 220, subtract your age (e.g., 220 – 40 = 180).
Gauging your heart rate will not only prevent you from overexerting, but also determine the type of workout you’re getting. For example, doing cardio for 30 minutes at 170 BPM will provide you with aerobic conditioning, while exercising at the same BPM for 15 minutes will provide you with fat burning/body building benefits.
Muscle Mass and More
While strength training with resistance is known to build muscle, it is also beneficial for improving range of motion, flexibility, posture, and tendon strength. In addition, it reduces the risk for injuries like back problems. For starters, stay with basic muscle building movements such as bench presses, lateral pulldowns, shoulder presses, and leg presses. You can experience great results doing these movements on machines and, consequently, eliminate the chance of injury that may occur with free weights.
Muscle atrophy (the loss of muscle) is a major concern not just for people over 40, but also for sedentary persons of any age. Women, who generally have less bone density and muscle mass than men, are more prone to muscle loss as that age. Dr. Miriam Nelson, Associate Director of the Human Physiology Laboratory at Boston’s Tufts University, stresses the importance of non-aerobic strength training for preserving bone and reducing muscle loss.