Why aerobic exercise is not enough
The answer is NO!
Running or other aerobic exercise will not work as a replacement for resistance training. They are different exercises and provide different benefits. While running, biking and other aerobic exercises do help increase the strength and endurance of your heart muscle, these types of exercise do not deliver the needed stress to your bones, muscles and tendons. The stress applied to them through strength training causes your muscles, tendons and even bones to have to adapt by getting stronger… and better looking!
In order to build strength, you have to pull hard on tendons, do microscopic damage to your muscles and literally bend your bones. Going out for a run or putting in an hour on the treadmill will not do this sufficiently.
This is not to say that aerobic exercise is not important: it is! But it is not resistance training. You need both.
Have you heard about the term “skinny fat”?
Another danger of focusing on cardio or aerobic exercise and letting resistance training slide is the situation of what is known as “skinny fat.” Skinny fat is a condition in which a person appears thin on the outside, but inside they are unhealthy and at risk for illness.
If you are losing weight through diet and exercise but not simultaneously doing resistance training, you are not only losing fat: you are losing muscle as well. Your body will burn through your muscles tissue as certainly as it will burn through your fat stores. As you lose muscle, you lose a major source of energy, muscle definition and you slow down your metabolism.
Hidden fat is also a risk for the “skinny fat” person. Many slim people actually have excessive amounts of visceral fat. This is the fat that surrounds the organs. This is the most dangerous fat to have because as it builds up around the organs the chance of disease increases drastically.
There is no substitute for lifting heavy weights a minimum of 2 to 3 times each week in addition to your aerobic exercise activities
If you seem to be stalled and your weight won’t budge, read the blog post on “Overcoming weight loss plateau” for more help
Winter isn’t far off
There are a lot of extra chores (at least in the northern most states) to do in the winter that require extra strength and stamina.
You know those days when you finally get the driveway shovels out, you run in the house to grab a quick shower before work and the snow plow has come by and created an arctic berm in your escape route?? Gah! It happens All. The. Time! Building strength now, in the fall, will give you time to get ready for beating the berm.
You know those times when you are rushing out the door, forgetting that your front porch may very well have turned into a skating rink overnight? While the efforts you make to keep yourself upright probably makes for a high heart rate (and good entertainment for your neighbor) but aren’t the safest form of cardio you can do.
Building a strong core is one of the many benefits of strength training and starting now will help you keep yourself upright and not breaking your butt bone. Winter is much more enjoyable without a broken tailbone or ribs.