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i only want to do cardio... is that bad?

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I'm a 23 year old female and I've been running 3 miles approximately 5 days/week, for about two weeks now. The first couple of days I had to stop about three times, but now I can run only stopping once, and sometimes non-stop. I feel great after running and I eat a lot healthier now cos I don't want the work out to go to waste..

But the more I read different threads on this board, the more I learned that I need to do resistance exercises, like lifting weights. The thing is I don't like to goto the gym all that much. I much prefer running outside! so I was wondering, what is so wrong with doing only cardio? Doesn't it still work out the muscles and help you get lean muscles? I know that lifting weights will give you more muscles, which will burn calories faster even at rest state, but I don't really care about that.. I really enjoy just running. Any words of wisdom on why resistance work out is essential?

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Depends on your goals. You also don't have to join a gym or spend a lot of money to get the equipment to tone. Push-ups and weight-less squats are a good place to start. There are lots of alternatives. Having a balanced body is always a good thing. Do you work on your core? Sit-ups? If you are running your legs are pretty much covered. Unless you want to gain some more power in your legs.

First and foremost you are on the right track and doing the right things. The idea is if you get bored with running change it up and keep it interesting. Cross-training on your cardio is also a good way to go. Add in biking and swimming when it gets warmer.


Nope there isn't anything wrong with only doing cardio.  I only did cardio and lost a lot of weight.  It wasn't until a year later that I decided to start weight training.   Do what makes you happy, maybe some day you will decide to add weights.
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As I understand it, the reason people on this forum stress resistance work so much is that it helps you preserve muscle mass while dieting. When your body finds a need to turn to its own stores for energy (because you are eating to create a calorie deficit) it will break down muscle along with the fat unless it sees a need to preserve the muscle, for example, to lift weights with it.

In general, too, muscle is metabolically expensive (takes more energy for your body to keep it around than, say, fat) so if your body doesn't need a muscle, it will eventually get rid of it.

Running is a load-bearing form of exercise (that is, you're carrying yourself) so that'll help -- muscles in your legs will be needed, as well as your core. This is if you're eating enough calories for the muscle to stick around. If you're in a caloric deficit, even those muscles that are needed could be broken down for energy.

Your upper body probably won't see much benefit from running, at least in the form of muscle size/strength. Fat loss is not area-specific so you may well lose fat from your upper body -- but you probably won't gain significant muscle there.

At least, that's my understanding of the situation...
I was like you and only wanted to run.  then I hit a wall and felt like I wasn't making enough progress to increase my distances, so I started doing strength training.....I was able to get over the 3 mile block and am working on increasing that to 5 miles.....depends, like another said, on your goals....eventually you'll likely want more out of your body so you'll have to change your routine.

Now, my sister increased her distance to nearly a half marathon and THEN started weight training.....I just felt like I wanted to make my bones and muscles stronger before I attempted longer distances and avoid injury.

I'm like you: I mostly only do cardio, and most of that is running. I know I should do weights and stregth training, but the only kind I can stand is yoga. And I'm spotty at best at getting up in time to go to the classes. I'll do situps when I think about it and I like to think that the rowing machine is *like* stregth training, but aside from that, I'm not very consistent about non-cardio stuff.

Meh. I feel pretty dang healthy and in shape. And my doc says I'm in fine health. Besides, doing only cardio is better than never getting your duff off of the couch in the first place.

Oh, also: I did gain muscle up top from running--not a lot, but moving your arms back and forth for hours at a time (I run marathons) and holding yourself upright properly with good posture really works your back and ab muscles. I notice it in my deltoids and shoulders mostly.
Some of the freeweight fiends will bug you about considering yoga a strength workout. If you're doing active yoga, rather than the gentle, restorative kind, then there is a lot of strength work included. As far as I can tell, warrior poses are lunges, with long holds and extra balancing. Down dog, plank, 8 limb pose, and the arm balances all require upper body strength, and handstands/shoulderstands if you're up to them.
My body looked a lot better (even while fat) when I was strength training...unfortunately I hate it so I've fallen off the wagon and am now too weak to pull myself back up. ;) There are a lot of health benefits so you should probably add in some resistance training eventually, but hey, one thing at a time. There's nothign wrong with waiting until you can run 3 miles nonstop each time and then adding it!
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Hello Daisy, Your words, ".. I really enjoy just running." sums it up very nicely. As a young person, you have a clean, wholesome attitude towards your activity and it's hard to top that. Enjoy your running and like some have suggested above, perhaps you'll show an interest in other forms of exercise later on. Running is also a form of resistance training and one of it's main benefits is to the often forgotten bones of which all 206 comprise our skeletal system. From the website:
( omy/skeletal/skeletalsystem.html)
"The Skeletal System serves many important functions; it provides the shape and form for our bodies in addition to supporting, protecting, allowing bodily movement, producing blood for the body, and storing minerals." A quote from one of the very informative pages of, "In fact, bone is a responsive tissue that reacts constantly to the demands imposed on it. It is always breaking down and remodelling itself." Pardon the latter digression, but you are doing very well for yourself in more ways than one by "just running."
Thank you for your replies, everyone! I'm glad to know that muscle training can come later. I think I'll go and research some exciting types of resistance training... fitness gyms are too intimidating lol
Original Post by daisyduck84:

Thank you for your replies, everyone! I'm glad to know that muscle training can come later. I think I'll go and research some exciting types of resistance training... fitness gyms are too intimidating lol

I'm not one for gyms either, but I signed up for weight lifting class at my local community college and loved it.  Most of the people in the class are older like me or beginners and people looking for health benefits not to show off or pick up people.  I highly recommend looking into something like that when you get ready to start.  I enjoyed the weights so much I do them each semester now and also have added a cardio class. Besides being fun they are also alot cheaper than joining a gym

i have been a runner & cardio addict for about 4 years, and have recently started incorporating weight training. the results are amazing! i always thought that i would get better results by cardio, because of the calorie burn, and didn't want to get "big" from weights. it is such a common misconception by women that they will get "big" doing weight training! some of the iest ladies out there are into weight training! (think Jessica Alba, & The Victoria's secret s!)

Hi Daisy---I think that its great that you are running consistently.  Keeping a routine and sticking to it is helpful to maintain your weight for the long haul.  You are young yet; it becomes even more important after 30 to add weight/resistance training to your routine as you start losing bone and muscle mass after that age (and you have the added benefit of longer calorie burn and longer, leaner muscles).  You don't have to go to a gym to work those muscles, either.  I have been doing a home routine for years (I will be 50 in April and had a bone density test recently--the Dr. told me that I had the bones of an 18 year old;)!  Running is actually considered a weight bearing exercise for your lower half-----you could start by just doing some upper body exercises (easy enough to do even while watching your favorite TV show).  There are lots of routines online (the health site has good ones!)  Keep up the good work!------Karen
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HEY!  thats   gr8!!  I  use  to  run  5 + miles   a  day  now  a  days  I'm  lucky   if  I  can  get  a decent  3  in  with  my  schedule  so  kudos  to  uCool.  It's  not   a  total  must  to  add resistance  training  if  you  don't   want  to. However,  it's  in  your  best  interest  if   you  do.  Don't  worry  very  unlikely   your  bulk  up  so   I  hope  thats  not  the reason  stopping  you. I  myself   run  and  do  resistance  training  at  home   so  it's  not  like  you   have   to   enroll  at  a  gym.  Weights   are   also  unnecessary.  Although,  I  have  5's,8's,  10's, and  15's  lb  weights, good  old   squats  and   push  ups   etc   will  get  you  by  in  the  meantime.  Good  Luck ^_^
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