Should I Go Running Or Lift Weights?

Ever wondered whether running or weight lighting is better for your body? Have you ever gone to the gym, and were confused as to whether you should get on the treadmill or hit the weights?

Here Are Some Points That Compare Running Or Lift Weights

1. Endorphins

Many people swear by running because of the endorphins released, giving them a “runner’s high”. Studies have shown that during certain runs, runners’ pre-frontal and limbic regions (which also respond to strong emotions like love) emitted endorphins. Runners who felt higher euphoria experienced higher levels of endorphins in these brain regions.

On the other hand, weight lifting does not commonly cause any endorphins or result in any “highs” but has other benefits as explored further below.

If you are the type that needs to feel a “high” after a workout or are prone to depression (running is proven to help depression), go for a run instead. You will need to push yourself but not too hard – studies have shown that endorphins are your body’s natural response to physical discomfort.

In terms of endorphins, running is the clear winner.

2. Calorie Burn

Weight lifting burns more calories per unit of time, but people can generally run for more extended periods than they can lift. For example, you would usually probably burn more calories in one hour of running than in a one-hour weight lifting session (since you would have to take breaks within sets).

That said, your body will continue burning calories after a session of weight lifting. Your body tends to be challenged more during a weight lifting session than a running session. This means that your body takes a longer time to recover after a workout. Repairing muscles burn more calories, and you can burn an extra 25% on top of the calories torched during weight lighting. Your metabolism can stay elevated by up to 10% for three days after weight lifting.

So, from the perspective of calories burnt, there is no clear answer, and it would depend on how hard you push yourself during the workout.

3. Muscle Mass

Weight lifting is the clear winner when it comes to preserving and increasing your muscle mass.

Running is a repetitive action and only uses specific muscles. Even if running can build strength in your leg muscles, other aspects of your body, such as your core and upper body strength, will be neglected.

Runners who only run often experience injuries and strength training is often advised as a form of cross-training. So even if you only love running, it will benefit your running if you can incorporate some weight lifting within your routine.

4. The Importance Of Diet

When it comes to weight loss, exercise is only 20% of the equation. Diet is 80%. Therefore, if you aim to lose weight, you are better off focusing on your diet instead of fretting on whether running or weight lifting will give you the calorie burn.

One snickers bar is about 260 calories which can take 30 minutes of jogging or 40 minutes of weight lifting (with breaks) to burn off. Think of a diet as the primary driver of weight loss and exercise as a helpful supplement, and you will be on the right track.

5. A Balanced Approach

Ultimately, it may be silly to compare running and weight lifting since you should be striking a balanced approach. Runners should incorporate weight lifting in their routine, and weight lifters should incorporate running (or some other form of cardio) to improve their cardiovascular health.

Unless you are training for a race or weight lifting competition, there is no reason why you cannot do a combination of both running and weight lifting. Ask yourself which of the activities you enjoy more and do more of it. If you can’t stand running, there is no point in forcing yourself to go on one-hour long runs.

As a common-sense approach, focus more on running if you feel that your cardiovascular health is week. On the other hand, where your muscular strength needs improving, schedule some sessions to the gym for weight lifting.

So, running or lift weights? What is your decision?

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