Is Aerobic Exercise a Bad Thing?

March 3, 2008 at 12:26 am Leave a comment

Apparently there’s a movement afoot to discount the benefits of aerobic exercise. (J)

According to Katherine Hobson’s US NEWS’ On Fitness column, arguments against cardio include:

“Working out for a long time can cause impact injuries and possibly promote harmful bodywide inflammation; people tend to overeat after cardio workouts because they overestimate how many calories they’ve burned; weightlifting may boost your metabolism more than aerobic exercise in the period after you’ve finished working out; and … it’s more efficient to do interval training (alternating shorter periods of intense exertion followed by recovery), because you burn more calories in less time.”

Hobson’s article refers to a previous post critiquing cardio workouts that sums the discusison up like this:

“Absent the same kind of evidence that cardio is good for the health of your heart and other bodily systems, it’s not a great idea to totally sub strength training for cardio. The ideal exercise routine … includes both, since strength training is definitely important for building muscle, maintaining bone density, and goosing your metabolism.”

I’ve been doing a combination of cardio and strength training for five years. Currently, I do five days of cardio and two days of weight lifting. I agree entirely that both are needed. Strength training has helped reshape me, while the aerobic activity has built up my endurance and, yes, burned some additional calories.

I don’t include any supposed calories burned via exercise in my daily calorie counts. I never have. For me, exercise is not particularly about burning extra calories; it’s about improving my overall health and my body’s firmness and tone.

Generally speaking, I have never been excessively hungry after a cardio workout, but I’ve heard, anecdotally, that some people respond that way.

It will take extremely strong evidence to convince me not to include cardio in my workout regimen. Until that evidence presents itself, I’m going to proceed as I have been and would probably recommend the same strategy to others if they asked my opinion.

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Entry filed under: burn more calories, news around the blogosphere, science. Tags: , , .

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