In the most simple ways of looking at it, the difference between cardio and weights is the application of load (i.e. weight). Meaning that doing cardio doesn’t involve the incorporation of a higher load than one’s own body weight that it takes to execute the given movement. For example, for cardio like walking on the treadmill, the only load involved is one’s body weight, where individuals are generally able to withstand this over a long period of time. With weights, on the other hand, load is applied in various ways, such as with the infamous squats that everyone loves so much. The nice part about utilizing weights, however, is that “cardio” can be incorporated within the application.
Cardio, or aerobic training, from a more traditional sense, is just the elevation and sustainment of a heart rate above baseline (above resting), which we can easily accomplish with proper programming of weight training, meaning that we can get the best of both worlds, relatively. Using weight training, one can traditionally burn more calories over time, help decrease and keep off body fat, and reap higher level physiological benefits that if sustained correctly, can last a lifetime. As stated previously, aerobic exercise (“cardio”) can come in the form of weight training if properly applied, where all benefits can collide to provide the highest level of overall health promotion for someone.