by Kaleb Holbrook

It seems as if everyone knows that exercising is great for overall general health. Whether physically, mentally, or emotionally, the fact that exercise is good for the human body is something that most everyone learns at a young age. Something taught to us through school, parents, medical professionals, and even television commercials. You may one day ask yourself, how does exercise improve your health? Or, what exercise should I do? In this blog, I plan to talk about endurance and resistance training and how they affect our bodies. Most of us have heard of these two types of exercises but may not know what they mean.

Endurance Training

Endurance training, or aerobic exercise, is a physical activity that increases an individual’s heart rate and the body’s use of oxygen for a prolonged time. Some of us may refer to endurance training as cardio. This type of training relies on the production of the heart and lungs to transport oxygen to active muscles. It’s equally essential for those active muscles to use that oxygen for performance. Typically, endurance training is low to moderate intensity for a long period. Some benefits from aerobic exercise include an increase in the percentage of slow muscle fibers, the number of mitochondria in fibers, the enhanced ability for the muscle to metabolize fat, improved capacity to circulate nutrients, and increased capillary density. Some great examples of endurance training include running, biking, and swimming. The dose recommendation for endurance training is 2-3 times per week for 30-60 minutes. Performing these exercises in this suggested amount of frequency and duration will help to yield benefits on cancer-related fatigue, physical function, anxiety, and depression. 

Resistance training

Resistance training, or anaerobic exercise, is a form of exercise that forces skeletal muscles to contract, which increases your muscular strength by working against a load or force. This type of training is most commonly known as weight lifting. Resistance training is known to be of moderate to vigorous intensity. Resistance training helps to increase muscular strength by changes in both the nervous system and increased muscle mass. Some benefits of this type of training are coordination, the ability to recruit primary muscles, improved muscle antioxidant capacity, and overall strength development. Examples of anaerobic training include weight lifting, sprinting, and jumping. The recommended frequency is 2-3 times per week with a volume of 2-3 sets and 8-15 repetitions. Just like endurance training, performing these exercises in the suggested amount of frequency and volume will help with cancer-related fatigue and physical function, as well as lymphedema and bone health.

Exercising consistently can have a tremendous effect on your general health. I only addressed the tip of the iceberg, so to speak, relating to health improvements by endurance and resistance training. Some exercises may contribute to more benefits than others, depending on your personal goals and what you want to achieve. Exercising can help you create a happier and healthier body and mind.