Do you do a lot of running in your regular weightlifting workout? Here’s why you should.

Are you a diehard yogi who’s hit a plateau in your physical practice? A weight training enthusiast who wants to advance your fitness goal? A swimmer who wants to go faster and further? Chances are, you are loading up on resistance or intensifying your workout frequency.

But here’s a better way to kick your fitness up a notch: replace one of your weekly training sessions with a run. When you pair good old cardio work with your efforts to improve strength and flexibility, the results may just surprise you.

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Aerobic exercises increase stamina and endurance

Regular runs will make it easier to breathe when you do another swim, spin, or any similar exercise that gets you panting. Over time, your lungs will be less easily fatigued, reducing the number of times you feel a shortness of breath.

Even basic poses like downward dog become tiring when held for longer periods of time. Your newfound strength and mental focus from incorporating running will help you to endure tiring moves in yoga, pilates or resistance training.

Your muscles will be more efficient

As your heart pumps hard when you run, it increases the oxygen supply to your muscles and promotes blood circulation to reduce soreness after strength training. Plus, running is an active recovery exercise that can help your muscles rebuild so you can perform even better at your next workout session. And if you’re a weight training fan, some experts have also said that cardio exercise can up the aerobic capacity of your fast-twitch muscles, the cells that give you strength and power to carry bigger loads.

Running makes you mentally stronger

All exercises require willpower, but there’s nothing like a long, steady run to test your mental strength. But once you fall into a comfortable rhythm, you get to relax and reflect, which is why running is so therapeutic to many.

You will burn more fat

Adding running to your routine will definitely help you shed some fat. To get into fat-burning mode, you will need to chalk up at least 30 minutes in a slow jog. For better results, go for an HIIT running workout, alternating between sprints, jogs and walks. You can use a mobile app like Aaptiv, which comes with pre-programmed HIIT routines to guide your runs.

By Carissa Wong for Shape

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