The MOVE by BJC Blog

Worth the Hype: Why Bother with Cardio?

Sunday, May 5, 2024

It's a legitimate question: Why bother with cardio? As someone who enjoys lifting and getting stronger through resistance training, occasionally playing (non-endurance) sports and who doesn't plan on running any marathons, I've had to ask it myself. 

Let's consider some of the benefits of lower-intensity training (50-75% max heartrate) and how it will likely benefit your resistance training. 

  1. Indirect cardiac adaptations, such as short-term increases in cardiac output and longer-term increases in capillary density of type I fibers may promote blood flow to soft tissues and nutrient delivery and clearance of metabolic wastes
  2. Reduced delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), possibly related in part to the improvements in blood flow 
  3. Opportunity to practice crucial movement patterns when the exercise chosen is sport-specific (e.g., mobility circuits, light squats or lunges) 
  4. Enhancement of psychological well-being 
  5. Improved insulin sensitivity, allowing for more efficient utilization of dietary carbohydrates in restoring glycogen and stimulation of protein synthesis 
  6. General physical preparedness (GPP) can be defined as "conditioning exercises designed to enhance am athlete's general, non-specific work capacity." Improved GPP enhances overall fitness levels and lays a foundation for sport-specific training 
  7. A well-developed aerobic system is a must for recovery, both acutely (during training/competition) and chronically (between training/competition). 

Equally important, endurance exercise offers numerous health benefits, including increased arterial compliance, decreased blood pressure, improved insulin sensitivity, improved glycemic control and decreased body fat content. 

So, while I encourage chasing gains, if you really want to reach your potential, don’t neglect your aerobic system!

-Spencer Weldon