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A well-balanced workout plan includes cardiovascular and weight training exercises to build muscle.
A balanced workout plan that builds muscle requires both cardiovascular and strength training exercises. Cardiovascular exercise improves circulation and lung capacity, making your heart a more efficient muscle. Strength training strengthens connective tissues, increases bone density and decreases your chances of injury and illness. With a workout plan that balances cardiovascular and strength training elements, you'll not only build muscle, lose weight and look toned, you'll enjoy overall better health.
Keep At It
Exercise has both short-term and long-term affects, so it is important to begin any workout plan by planning a healthy exercise frequency. According to Dr. Michael Joyner, some exercise benefits dissipate if you don't exercise frequently enough. Cardiovascular endurance, which provides blood and oxygen to growing muscles, diminishes, as does muscle condition. In addition, the risk of injury increases with infrequent physical activity. Dr. Joyner recommends to let only two days lapse between exercise sessions, at most.
Get Your Heart Racing
Cardiovascular exercise is activity that increases your heart rate to improve the efficiency of oxygen and blood flow to your body. It helps you build endurance so you can stay active for longer periods of time and gets or keeps you lean and trim. Cardio training is often overlooked as a key component to a muscle-building exercise plan, but it improves muscle tone and strength. More efficient circulation will also make strength training easier and help your muscles recover after training sessions. At least 15 minutes of sustained cardiovascular activity, such as jogging, cycling or jumping rope, during each workout session is recommended to see maximum benefits.
Pump It Up
Strength training requires the use of resistance to build muscle. Often, individuals want to build muscle to look trim or buff, but there are other benefits, including the fact that muscle burns calories all day, even after you've finished exercising, according to fitness trainer Debbie Siebers. Eight to 10 different exercises that cumulatively use all the major muscle groups, including the arms, shoulders, back, abs and legs, should be done at least twice a week.
Stretch It Out
Stretching is just as important as cardiovascular and strength training, although it is often forgotten. Stretching allows for greater flexibility, improved posture and relaxation of sore muscles and tendons. After long or intensive workouts, stretching not only feels good, it can help rejuvenate taxed muscles. Before stretching, warm up for at least 10 minutes. The American Council on Exercise recommends that you perform dynamic stretches, or stretches that require a bit of movement, before exercise -- and then static stretches, which require holding a stretch and breathing deeply, after.