Let’s call cardio, or aerobic, exercise that which is cyclical and continuous, lasting 10 minutes or longer. It is one of the two main types of exercise. The other being strength exercise, which we’ll describe as intermittent and without a minimum duration.

Some people at The Training Station Gym always go directly to the barbell and dumbbell strength area. They don’t even glance in the direction of the cardio equipment as they walk past. Some other members go directly to their favorite cardio machine, use it, and leave.

The smartest exercisers split their time between both areas.

The benefits of doing cardio exercise


There are benefits that come from doing cardio. Actually, cardio causes many of the health benefits that patients and doctors desire most.

It increases:

  • Glycogen
  • Mitochondria
  • Mitochondrial volume
  • Resting phosphocreatine, adenosine triphosphate, and creatine
  • Phosphofructokinase and phosphorylase
  • Succinate dehydrogenase and max lactate
  • Slow twitch muscle fibers
  • Max stroke volume and cardiac output
  • VO2 max
  • Heart and blood volume

It decreases:

  • Fast twitch muscle fibers
  • Resting heart rate
  • Max heart rate
  • Body fat

The benefits of doing strength training


Strength exercise causes some of its own exclusive benefits. You can expect to get those benefits by doing strength workouts two or more times per week. The benefits related to strength training are different from, but as important as, the benefits from doing cardio exercise. They’re the kind of muscle-related benefits that we would expect from doing strength training.

Strength training benefits:

  • Muscle fibers increase in size and strength
  • Muscle fibers twitch faster
  • Creatine phosphokinase and myokinase increase
  • Phosphofructokinase increases
  • An increase in the enzymes that oxidize
  • Basal metabolism increases
  • Adenosine triphosphate, phosphocreatine, and glycogen levels increase
  • Aerobic capacity increases (with the performance of a particular kind of strength training)
  • Ligament and tendon strength increases
  • Lean body mass increases
  • Bone mineral content, density, and cross-sectional area increase

You’ll probably have to join a gym to take advantage of a diversity of cardio and strength exercises. A good choice will be a facility with strength machines for the total body, the main aerobic machines, and barbell, dumbbells, and kettlebells.