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Heart Rate in Running Verses Resistance

Your heart rate is a strong indicator of your overall health. Through aerobic exercise, you can decrease your resting heart rate over time and increase the efficiency of your cardiovascular system, according to the American Heart Association. Your heart rate will be higher during resistance training than running, but the mechanism that controls heart rate in both scenarios is completely different.


Running Verses Resistance


Cardio Training

If you keep up a light or moderate pace during a run, your heart rate will likely hover between 50 and 80 percent of its maximum capacity. During cardio training, the majority of your energy demands are met through oxygen. Increasing your pace increases the amount of oxygen you need to consume to keep moving.


Resistance Training

Since resistance training involves quick, explosive muscle contractions, you need more energy than the cardiovascular system can provide. Instant energy is provided anaerobically, and your heart rate spikes in an effort to recover following an explosive muscular movement. Typically, your heart rate will spike higher during a weight-training routine than it will during a run.



Since your heart rate increases faster and shoots higher in the anaerobic resistance zone than in the cardio running zone, there is a misconception that resistance training can help increase cardiovascular efficiency. Although heart rate increases during resistance training, oxygen uptake is not proportionally increased, according to the American Council on Exercise. This means aerobic endurance improvement is limited with resistance training as compared to running.


Overall Effects

Regular aerobic training can decrease blood pressure, lower resting heart rate and improve aerobic capacity. Similarly, resistance training has been shown to lower resting heart rate over time and improve heart strength, according to the University of New Mexico. Still, the major benefits of resistance training are still confined to muscle development, while running is a more efficient means of increasing cardiovascular health.


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