When it comes to fitness, there is far more publicity given to cardiovascular activities as compared to strength training. Cardio is perhaps best known because of its ability to promote heart health and weight loss. Strength training is however necessary, and not just for those who participate in bodybuilding. What many may not realize is that unless you work on your muscles as well, you run the risk of trading them in for fat. In fact, the more muscle you carry, the higher a metabolism you have. You can actually consume more food without gaining as much weight. Your ability to burn fat is enhanced when you make strength training a part of your exercise plan.
As we age, our ability to replace muscle tissue slows down. Strength training helps to strengthen existing muscle, slow down their deterioration and replace them. Adults lose about half a pound of muscle each year, making them slowly weaker and less energetic. We also lose more bone density and flexibility as we age. With stronger muscles, there is not only more flexibility of joints, but also better protection against injuries to bones. Those that engage in even moderate strength training have also been found to suffer less severe bouts of arthritis and osteoporosis. Building muscle also helps to ensure better balance and mobility. This is why seniors are advised to make strength training an essential part of their fitness routine.
Strength training is also the best way to achieve good muscle growth amongst women. Some women may be concerned that they may grow large muscles that are often undesirable aesthetically. In reality, women lack the necessary testosterone levels to make for large muscles without concentrated effort. The appearance of the muscles is likely to be lean with moderate strength training. Women will find it easier to lift heavy objects and control their body fat with weight and resistance training. Many women also find their body shape is better defined when they have undertaken strength training. Muscle helps to better bring out their shape and has been linked to improved levels of body confidence.
Weight control is greatly improved with strength training. Managing weight once weight loss goals have been achieved can be very hard. Building muscle is a great way to heighten your metabolism and ensure lower fluctuations in weight. As women age, their ability to burn fat declines. This action can be negated by building more muscle.
Engaging in strength training is actually quite simple as you have the option of using your own weight or that of fitness equipment to generate the required resistance or weight lifting challenge. Weight training is also something you can easily add to your routine as most people undertake thrice-weekly 20 minute sessions. Many report feeling and seeing positive changes in their body with just a few weeks.
When you start any form of training, it is best to get guidance from a fitness instructor. This is particularly important when determining the most suitable weights to begin with. If you stick to your strength-training program, you should be able to gradually rise through the weight classes for a bigger challenge. Remember to leave at least a day in between training sessions so as to give your muscles adequate time to heal.
Mayo Clinic – (Strength Training)
Nurse Together – (The importance of Strength Training)
CDC (Growing Stronger)