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Is Weightlifting Better for Your Health Than Aerobic Exercise?

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It's no secret that regular exercise is essential to your health. When you engage in regular physical activity, you'll burn calories and fat to lower your risk of chronic diseases like obesity and diabetes. Furthermore, regular exercise has been shown to lower the risk of heart disease, which is important considering that heart disease is the leading cause of death among men and women in the United States. When planning an exercise regimen, though, one of the decisions you'll have to make is whether to focus on weightlifting or aerobic exercise.

Weightlifting vs Aerobic Exercise

Weightlifting, of course, is a form of resistance training that involves the use of weights to engage one or more muscles in your body. Lifting dumbbells is considered a weightlifting exercise. When you lift dumbbells, you are exposing your muscles to those weights, thus forcing your muscles to work harder in an effort to lift the dumbbells.

Aerobic exercise, on the other hand, doesn't rely on weights. Instead, it involves any physical activity in which your respiratory rate remains high for a prolonged period. While some aerobic exercises can be performed using weights, most are performed without weights. Examples of aerobic exercise include running, jogging, swimming and cycling, all of which increase your respiratory rate for a prolonged period.

Why Weightlifting Is Better Than Aerobic Exercise

You can perform either weightlifting or aerobic exercise to improve your health. Of those two types of exercise, however, the former is typically more beneficial than the latter. So, why is weightlifting a better choice than aerobic exercise?

For starters, weightlifting does more than just burn calories and fat; it builds muscle. If you only perform aerobic exercise, you'll lose body fat but you won't gain any muscle mass. As a result, aerobic exercise doesn't offer the same benefits as weightlifting.

Additionally, research has shown that weightlifting offers greater heart health benefits than aerobic exercise. According to a study published in the medical journal JAMA Cardiology, people who lift weights are less likely to develop heart disease than people who only perform aerobic exercise.

Statistics show only about 22% of Americans get the recommended amount of exercise. And with lack of exercise being a primary contributing factor in a variety of chronic diseases, it's a serious problem that shouldn't be overlooked. You can protect yourself from chronic disease, however, by staying physically active. While weightlifting offers the best results, even aerobic exercise can improve your health.

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