I have recently come across several books describing workout plans that were not including any kind of running or cycling or swimming. Only weight lifting and free weight training were included in these workout plans. The authors were claiming that there is no scientific evidence that running is actually a good exercise for the heart (and can prevent heart). To get fit, developing a high metabolism is much more effective than long running sessions. Where is the truth ?

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    Care to figure out the names of the books? Because a die-hard weight lifter isn't exactly 'fit' for running anyway. Also, why would a high metabolism alone be more effective than cardio-exercise?
    – Ivo Flipse
    Jun 14, 2011 at 8:02
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    Possible duplicate: fitness.stackexchange.com/questions/2060/… Jun 14, 2011 at 9:20
  • As it stands, the question is also open-ended and could be argued.
    – user241
    Jun 14, 2011 at 12:34
  • Arthur Jones famously made the assertion that weightlifting was just as effective (or more so) for cardiovascular health than "cardio". Body By Science (McGuff) does make a compelling scientifically-based case for the same.
    – G__
    Jun 16, 2011 at 16:02
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    and can prevent heart what? Jun 23, 2011 at 19:54

1 Answer 1


You're confounding running and low-intensity steady state cardio.

Running is a basic life skill (along with literacy, basic arithmetic, being able to ride a bicycle, being able to swim...), and if you want to be able to do it without getting sore, you need to run regularly. No other exercises can prepare you for running.

Running is also one of the most basic functions of your body. Do no running at all, and you may end up with a disfunctional and out-of-balance (mostly lower) body. We are built to run.

However, slow steady state cardio appears to be mostly useless. Not useless in the sense of doing nothing, but useless compared to shorter, more intense cardio. Whether you do interval sprints, crossfit, kettlebell-lifting or any other high-intensity cardio, you will both save a lot of time and get more of the benefits of cardio, both in terms of training your cardiovascular systems and in terms of fat-loss.

Allegedly, one of the secrets of Kenyan marathon runners are regular runs with low mileage and high intensity. These actually give them a fair amount of fast-twitch-muscle fibers that traditional wisdom would tell you are only for sprinters.


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