cardio vs lifting

Cardio or Strength Training: Which Should Come First?

Whether you have set a goal to better yourself in 2018 or are recovering from an injury, exercising is important. Exercise helps the fluid in your spine move, which can reduce inflammation across the body. Cardio and strength training affect your body in different ways, and it’s important to determine a workout strategy. Should you get your blood flowing with a light jog and then move on to some weight training? Or should you lift weights first, and then move on to low-intensity cardio? In this post, we’ll discuss the advantages of each strategy.


If You’re Trying to Maintain Fitness Goals

Without any particular goals in mind, this may not make much of a difference. For some people, the priority is based more in adopting an active lifestyle than strengthening a particular capability.

So, if your goal is simply to exercise your body more frequently, then the order of the exercises may not matter. A Lake Shore physical therapist may be able to give input based on your particular injury and body condition. As always, though, you should select the method that enables you to benefit the most, without pain or excessive discomfort.
One easy way to do this is remembering to always warm up before a workout.

man lifting weights


Vary Your Workouts

fat woman running

According to some experts, there may not be one answer to this question. In fact, variety may be the key to success. Alex Hutchinson, a physicist, proposed that changing your workout structure might help to improve either endurance or strength.

At the beginning of the workout, the AMP kinase adjusts responds to your physical actions. So, if you begin the workout with strength training, then your capacity to perform strength activities improves. Conversely, people who begin the workout with endurance activities will be pushing the boundaries of endurance capabilities. In essence, the activity you perform first will set the tone for how your body reacts throughout the rest of the activity. And, with more energy, you can prioritize this activity. A Lake Shore physical therapist can help you to refine this schedule for maximum benefits.

With the advent of modern workout videos, it’s more common for people to tackle both activities at once. P90X and other like-minded workout videos integrate both types of activity, which has other metabolic benefits. Before taking on a more aggressive workout video, a Lake Shore physical therapist can help you determine how to proceed.


Why Should I Do Strength Training First?

Modern research suggests that, between the two options, strength training might be the way to go. The reasoning behind this is fairly simple.

Whether you are lifting weights, squatting or doing another muscle-focused activity, you need energy. These activities generally require short bursts of high-energy exertion. So, in order to push the limits of your physical capabilities, having the proper energy is essential.

As your body enters this intense state, your anaerobic energy systems will already be exhausted. In order to continue activity, your body will begin burning fats in order to keep the aerobic system active. Consequently, when you begin the cardio phase, your body will be ready to go.

With more energy, you can perform more repetitions before beginning cardiovascular exercise. A Lake Shore physical therapist can help you to gain and maintain these energy levels. This means that you will be less likely to injure your back and shoulders.


Protein Synthesis: Cardio First

Ideally, your body should synthesize more protein during strength-training exercises. When you do cardio first, your body breaks down these proteins, rather than building them. By training your muscles first, you can ensure that your ability to build strength is not inhibited.

Tailor Your Workout To Your Goals

Regardless of these factors, your individual strategy should be tailored to your own goals. If you are training for a marathon, or generally want to increase endurance, then prioritize that.

women working out


Physical Therapy Long Island

At Lake Shore Physical Therapy, our experienced staff can aid you in meeting these fitness goals. Whether you need advice about a workout routine or assistance in navigating injuries, we can help. Our Long Island physical therapists can help you to reach these goals and enjoy a better life.