High Intensity Circuit Training VS. Running: Which is better for you?
Aside from walking, running is probably the most common exercise routine. Even though getting started is hard, it is worth the runners high and weight loss results you receive once you establish a routine.
Then there is HICT (high intensity circuit training), workouts that combine both cardio and resistance training all at once. In a HICT workout, you alternate between upper body and lower body moves and Higher intensity exercises and lower intensity exercises. These workouts also have the same stress reducing and weight loss benefits. So what routine is better. Here I've listed the pros and cons for both so you can decide what routine is best for you.
Pros: Running releases endorphins that activate the pleasure centers of the brain, also known as the runner's high. This helps to regulate moods and acts as an anti-depressant. Running also increases your oxygen carrying capacity, improving your circulation. It can be a great way to socialize and meet other people.
Weight loss is another benefit and you don't have to run fast to achieve results. Running also increases immunity and increases antibody response. It improves glucose regulation and lowers the risk of diabetes and pre-diabetes. Running can also improve cognitive function and reduce Alzheimers. Another benefit is that it strengthens your bones and joints.
Cons: Repeating pounding takes it's toll. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, one of the most serious disadvantages to running is damage to weight bearing joints. It can also be boring because it is a repitious activity making it hard to stay motivated. Many runners have muscle imbalances because they neglect to train their upper body. This can create postural issues and pain.
HICT (High Intensity Circuit Training)
The major benefit of HICT is that it increases the number of calories you burn after exercise. Also known as post exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC). More calories are burned as your body works to return back to its normal state. HICT is a fast and efficient way to lose weight and burn body fat. You can make more progress in 20 minutes of HICT workouts three times a week than jogging one hour on a treadmill.
Another article from the American College of Sports Medicine shares that you can improve your aerobic capacity in just two weeks of high intensity circuit training compared to six to eight weeks of endurance training. A well designed HICT workout will promote overall strength and muscle balance. You can do these workouts with minimal or no equipment.
Cons: There is an increased risk of injury if the exercises are not performed with proper form. These workouts are also not ideal for beginners. It is important to prepare your body for these workouts by working on your foundation first. That is, spending about 4-8 weeks of strength training, core training, and stability training before jumping into high intensity workouts. There is also a risk of overtraining. This can lead to injury through repetitive stress. You may also feel intense soreness after strenuous workouts.
As you can see, there are pros and cons for both running and high intensity circuit training workouts. For the most part, they are both better than not exercising at all.