Heard about strength training and wondering what all the fuss is about? Strength training is indeed worthwhile if you want to see huge benefits in weight loss, changing your appearance, and building muscle. But, there’s even more to it than that. Strength training doesn’t just alter how you look, but how you feel, physically and mentally.
Technically-speaking, it’s the process of breaking down muscle fibre, so that when your body heals, it rebuilds the muscles stronger.
But, in a practical sense, strength training is the process of producing force to move heavier weights over time.
And ladies, before you start to object on the basis that strength training will make you look bulky, we want to let you know that it is, in fact, a myth and there is much more to it than that. To that end, we’re pointing out that strength training is for both men and women and they can both enjoy the benefits of it. We’ll talk more about this soon.
If you’re eating at a calorie deficit while you’re strength training, your body will lose fat. But, the best part is – you won’t lose any existing muscle mass. This makes it an approach to weight loss that is good for your overall health and body strength.
Women are often concerned that strength training must mean bulking up. But, the truth is, it takes a lot of intentional action, including eating a certain way and taking dietary supplements to gain significant bulk from strength training, because of the difference in testosterone levels from women to men. That’s why women tend to get lean or toned from strength training, while men tend to gain bulk.
We are living increasingly sedentary lifestyles, which may not seem like a big deal in your twenties or thirties, but as you age, you’ll undoubtedly notice it catching up to you. If you want to maintain the strength of your twenties, throughout your life, strength training is where you should turn.
Remember that strength is so necessary in our everyday lives for the most basic of activities like carrying children, groceries and basket-loads of laundry.
Strength training helps us preserve our bone density(Science Direct) to stay more independent as we age. In general, it reduces frailty, weakness and preserves vitality. It has even been found to reverse sarcopenia (the reduction of skeletal muscle) in some people. In this way, it also helps in the management of arthritis, staving off osteoporosis and making the body more durable(Time) against other chronic diseases.
While this is a more superficial benefit than the others we have listed so far, it doesn’t mean it isn’t important. If a toned body will boost your self-confidence and help you get more enjoyment out of life, then strength training is the ideal path to get that body.
Strength training creates a higher level of excess post-exercise oxygen consumption than aerobic exercise because it takes more energy to replenish your body to its normal state. It boosts metabolism not only while you’re working out, but for a period of time afterwards too.
When you think about exercising for heart health, most people automatically think cardiovascular exercise is the obvious answer. And of course, cardio is important for this. But, you may not be aware that strength training also has heart-healthy benefits(University Hospitals) to bring to the table.
There’s a multi-faceted approach to this. Firstly, when you lose weight, your risk of heart disease is reduced. Secondly, when you build muscle by strength training, blood flow is increased, and pressure is reduced on your arterial walls. And thirdly, sleep quality is improved by strength training, which in turn, reduces another contributing factor to heart disease.
Those are some compelling reasons to take up strength training for your heart health!
As muscles become stronger, it’s natural to find them better able to support you in activities requiring high coordination, like sports, or even everyday tasks. When your muscle fibres are strong, they function in unison to do what your brain asks of them. And so, your muscles work together in producing smooth body coordination that also helps you stay balanced too.
With better cognitive function, you’re able to focus more easily and think more clearly. But, one of the most profound effects on cognitive function has to do with memory. Increased success in performing memory-related tasks(IdeaFit) is just one of many things you can look forward to when you begin strength training, for now, and as you grow older.
Strength training helps to boost energy levels and confidence, brushing aside stress and anxiety in its wake. You see, periods of strenuous exercise cause the brain(EveryDay Health) to respond by releasing endorphins from the pituitary gland. Strength training lifts endorphin levels, which are those natural opiates our brains produce to help us feel good. More energy and a better mood – what’s not to love?
With many of us spending a significant portion of our days sitting at desks in front of a computer, it’s no wonder that poor posture and the associated lower back problems are a big burden to our lifestyles and healthcare systems. Luckily, strengthening and lengthening the muscles, particularly those in the upper and middle back can help to reverse problems like slumped shoulders.
Who knew that by strength training you might even end up a bit taller with improved posture!
So, you know you should be exercising; otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this. And you might be contemplating doing other forms of exercise instead of strength training. But, something you should consider is that this type of workout is more efficient – even than cardio(Time).
You can get more out of it in a limited period of time, in comparison to something like aerobic exercise, where the more you do it, the longer you must do it for to see any gains. Of course, in an ideal world, you would do both, but it’s interesting to see how they stack up!
As you can see, there’s a crazy number of benefits to strength training, and if they aren’t enough to sway you, perhaps this bonus benefit for doing strength training will be: it’s fun! You get to compete with others, or even just yourself.
Above all, you’ll feel AND see the progress you make as you train. So, in our opinion, it’s one of the most rewarding workouts you can incorporate into your lifestyle.
What do you think? Are you going to try it?
Written by K. Radford for WeirdMojo
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When you purchase an automobile it comes with an owners manual, when you purchase a dishwasher it comes with an operating guide and when you purchase even the simplest of items, they now come with a little infographic type of instruction.
When you buy a t-shirt or tank top, what do you get? Nothing.