The benefits of a good strength training program are almost endless. Less disease, happiness and most importantly, showing off your muscles at the beach.
Strength training should be part of everyone’s routine. Even if your low on time, strength training, according to the ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine), only needs to be done 2-3 times per week with each session lasting no more than one hour. For 2-3 hours per week, huge benefits can be gained.
Table of Contents
Regular strength training will:
1. Strength training makes you fit and stronger.
This benefit is the obvious one, but it shouldn’t be overlooked. “Muscle strength is crucial in making it easier to do the things you need to do on a day-to-day basis, especially as we get older and naturally start to lose muscle.
2. Strength training boosts energy levels and improves your mood.
Strength training will elevate your level of endorphins (natural opiates produced by the brain), which lift energy levels and improve mood. All exercise boosts mood because it increases endorphins. But for strength training, additional research that’s looked at neurochemical and neuromuscular responses to such workouts offers further evidence that it has a positive effect on the brain (including a 2014 study published in Frontiers in Psychology).
As if that isn’t enough to convince you, there’s evidence strength training may help you sleep better, too.
3. Strength training helps you develop better body mechanics.
Strength training also benefits your balance, coordination, and posture. One study showed that in older people who are at higher risk of falling (and causing injury) because of decreased physical functioning, strength training reduced risk of falling by 40 percent compared with individuals who did not do strength-training exercise.
Balance is dependent on the strength of the muscles that keep you on your feet. The stronger those muscles, the better your balance.
4. Strength training protects bone health and muscle mass.
At around the age of 30 we start losing as much as 3 to 5 percent of lean muscle mass per year due to aging.
According to a study published in October 2017 in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, just 30 minutes twice a week of high intensity resistance and impact training was shown to improve functional performance, as well as bone density, structure, and strength in postmenopausal women with low bone mass — and it had no negative effects.
Likewise, the HHS guidelines note that, for everyone, muscle-strengthening activities help preserve or increase muscle mass, strength, and power, which are essential for bone, joint, and muscle health as we age.
5. Increase muscle mass which burns more calories throughout the day than an equal amount of fat.
Muscles grow through protein synthesis, which is one of the most energy consuming processes in the cell (Rolfe & Brown, 1997). If you’re building muscles, it is not just the workout itself but also the growth of muscles that consumes energy and burns calories. Additionally, muscle tissue is metabolically more active and burns more calories than fat tissue. The more muscles you have, the bigger your resting energy expenditure, which means that your body burns more calories “while doing nothing”.
If weight loss is your goal, including strength training into your exercise routine is important. This way you can improve your body composition, that is losing fat and maintaining – maybe even gaining – muscles. It’s also important to keep in mind that muscles require enough nutrients to grow. You can’t cut back on calories too much, if you want to increase your muscle mass.
Concerns For Strength Training
Even with all these benefits, many people are reluctant to start training with weights. Concerns include injury, incorrect form and for women; not wanting to grow muscles and look masculine.
When beginning your strength training program, the risk of getting hurt can be greatly reduced by starting out with machines rather than free weights. As you become more comfortable with the machines, slowly learn to use free weights. As for the concern that women will look masculine, it won’t happen without the help of steroids, which you shouldn’t even consider using.
Sometimes when we think of being healthy, we think of eating and running. While they are important, strength training should never be left out. Strength training provides benefits to your health that cannot be achieved with any other form of exercise and shouldn’t be over looked.