If your workout solely consists of running on the treadmill or just lifting weights, you may need to re-think your gym routine, especially if you are already at risk for diabetes.
While cardio and strength training are the hallmark methods for staying in shape, not using both as a regular part of your fitness regimen may not offer you all the health benefits you think you are receiving.
According to USA Today, a new study conducted at Pennington Biomedical Research Center showed that when people with diabetes did a combination of cardio and strength training, they experienced significant improvements in their blood sugar levels compared to those who just pumped iron or pounded pavement. What’s more, the combination also helped these individuals lose more weight and drop more inches from their waistlines in comparison to the single-type exercisers.
So, just how much exercise are you supposed to get in?
The federal government recommends that adults do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity (like brisk walking) each week, or 75 minutes of vigorously-intense activity (like jogging or swimming laps), or a combination of the two, to get the most health benefits from exercise. These aerobic activities can be broken up, but should be done in at least 10-minute bouts.
The government also encourage adults to perform resistance or strength training activities two or more days a week at a moderate- or high-intensity level for all major muscle groups, which includes the chest, back, shoulders, upper legs, hips, abdomen and lower legs.
If you’re not sure how to start a new cardio and strength-training routine, try these tips:
- Spend the first 15 to 20 minutes of your workout briskly walking on a treadmill or working on the elliptical trainer.
- Try out interval-based training: In between sets of weights, do 50 jumping jacks, jump rope or do walking lunges for two minutes.
- After your cardio routine, do crunches and push-ups for 10 minutes.
- Take a strength-bearing and cardio-intensive group fitness class like Ashtanga yoga or Krav Maga.
Combining resistance training with cardio will make your muscles work more efficiently, keep your metabolism stoked all day long (even while you’re watching TV) and it will transform the look and feel of your entire body.