Enter any Health Club in America and you will observe the majority of its members participating in cardio-type activities such as:
Indoor running/walking tracks
Cardio Kick Boxing
Aerobic Dance Classes
The members these Health Clubs spend hours during the week on the equipment or in aerobic classes wearing themselves and their joints out all in the name of cardio-fitness and fat-burning!
Although a cardio-stimulation will take place, the disadvantages far outweigh the advantages. When you come in contact with those individuals who took up jogging during the 1970’s and who trained regularly for the cardio-conditioning benefits, you may be surprised at what you observe today because a high percentage of these people have since experienced some type of injury. These injuries fall into common categories: knee, hip, ankle, and back. Some of these joint injuries have become so serious that many have had to have multiple joint replacement surgeries. You will also observe (even more important than the joint injuries) their loss of muscle mass and strength in varying amounts due to the degree they abused their bodies with cardio.
The loss of muscle mass and strength occurs in most joggers because cardio-based exercise is different than strength-based exercise due to the enduring “steady-state” training at a low intensity level.
This is because building muscular strength and muscle mass requires intense hard but brief exercise. Hard and brief exercise both serve two separate important purposes and too much of either can and will produce a negative effect when building your strength and muscle mass.
A very high percentage of our population live a sedentary lifestyle, unfortunately including children leading to obesity and other lifestyle conditions increasing at an alarming rate.
It seems that losing muscle and adding adipose (fat) tissue is becoming acceptable and thought to be “the norm” when in fact it doesn’t have to be “the norm” but a rare condition as it used to be only a few decades ago. The government has issued a list of the “most obese or fattest states” for the past few years with Colorado having the lowest BMI (coming in at #50 for several years in a row).
The solution to re-starting your muscles is easy when you start a structured progressive strength training program. As an added benefit when you strength train you will get the cardio effect when you incorporate “circuit weight training” which reduces the rest time between each exercise. But if you feel the need for more cardio exercise then do the cardio after your strength training exercises and for not more than 30 minutes.
Remember “more is not better” so limit your strength training exercise sessions and cardio workouts to a maximum of 2 per week and if at all possible do them both on the same day.