People who exercise in a gym generally belonging to one of two groups:
1. Those that love cardiovascular exercise (usually women). Preferring treadmills, cross trainers, bikes and exercise classes.
2. Those who love weight training (usually men). Preferring heavy weights.
I love cardio, mainly because I'm a scientist and there's heaps of research on the benefits.
That said, it's also important for everyone to weight train, as increasing skeletal muscle is the primary mechanism to increasing lean muscle mass. Lean muscle mass is critical for staying healthy, over the long-term. Increasing lean muscle has the following benefits:
1. Lose fat. The greater amount of Lean Body Mass you have, the greater your BMR* will be. Increased BMR = the more you can eat without getting fat = can help to combat obesity.
2. Fight off disease. If you don’t have sufficient Lean Body Mass, your body will have a much more difficult time defeating and recovering from illnesses. In Cancer, the need for increased protein can be 4 g of protein per kilogram of body weight, about four times the normal.In those whose overall body protein decreased due to cancer and cancer therapy, the rate of reccurrence of cancer increased.
3. Strengthen your bones. In the Mediterranean Intensive Oxidant Study, researchers found that lower amounts of skeletal muscle mass, a significant and major component of Lean Body Mass, was correlated with weaker and thinner bones in elderly men.
4. Beat diabetes. In a large scale study of over 13,000 people over a 6-year span conducted by the UCLA School of Medicine, the researchers concluded an inverse relationship between skeletal muscle mass and insulin resistance. They found that for every 10% increase in skeletal muscle mass, there was an 11% decrease in insulin resistance, for people without diabetes, the decreases were even more pronounced.
* - Your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) is an estimate of how many calories you'd burn if you were to do nothing but rest for 24 hours. It represents the minimum amount of energy needed to keep your body functioning, including breathing and keeping your heart beating.