Weight training improves Cardio Fitness
I had read about it. My clients told me it worked. I’d heard it from my colleagues. But I had not tested it or experienced it for myself. (bad bio-hacker)
Last two weekends that changed. I hiked (briskly, read Go Marine Go!) up and down Johnston Canyon to the Inkpots (12 Km /215 M elevation gain) and Nahahhi Ridge (12 Km /415 M elevation gain).
I was never sucking wind! It was easy! I had so much energy. I literally hopped and skipped down Johnston Canyon. I was passing everyone on both hikes! (me, age 52!)
I have done absolutely NO cardio in at least two years. The only exercise I have done is 15 minutes once per week since November 2013. My heart and lungs felt in top form, literally as fit as any time in my whole athletic career. My muscles felt strong – no back ache, no knee pain. My quadriceps were stiff for 2 days after Nahahhi ridge due to the killer descent of 415 M over a relatively short distance. That’s it.
Slow motion, high intensity strength training improves cardiovascular conditioning! It does so by improving stroke volume (the amount of blood moving through your system) Also, when you have more muscle and motor units, your heart and lungs do not have to work as hard.
There is no need to do extra cardio to condition heart and lungs unless it is something that brings you great enjoyment and stress relief. (however, remember, that excess steady state conditioning (like running) will cause joint and heart damage. Weigh carefully if you truly derive pleasure from these activities or are you simply conditioned with a should do it mentality)