Any robust workout plan should include an element of strength training. Strength training isn’t just about lifting heavy weights in the gym. It includes any form of exercise that uses resistance to build, tone, and strengthen the muscles. Apart from weightlifting, some popular forms of strength training include body weight exercises (such as squats and planks), using resistance bands, and using strength machines at the gym.
But why is it so important? Here are seven amazing ways that strength training boosts your overall health and wellbeing.
Protect your muscles and bones as you age
Experts believe that we lose 3-5% of our lean muscle mass per decade after the age of 30. Bones also tend to weaken as we age. But a certain degree of this decline is within our control and can be avoided or mitigated with the right exercise regime.
Incorporating strength training into your fitness routine helps to protect and increase your muscle mass and improve bone density. Just 30 minutes twice per week is enough to see these benefits.
Burn more calories at rest
Most of the calories our bodies burn aren’t from exercise, but from the basic functions it takes to keep us alive. Strength training increases lean muscle mass, which boosts your metabolism (the number of calories your body burns at rest.) When your body burns more calories more easily, it becomes easier to stay at a healthy weight, which has numerous health benefits.
Your body also burns more calories in the hours following a strength workout, not just during the workout itself. This is known as the “after-burn effect” and over time, those extra calories burned can really add up.
Improve balance and coordination
Regular strength training (at least one workout per week) helps to improve your balance and coordination. You’ll also have greater muscle mobility and an improved range of motion. As you age, this helps to support a healthy body and drastically decreases the risk of falls and injuries.
Strength training can also improve your posture, which is one of the best ways to prevent chronic back pain.
Have more energy
Anyone who works out regularly understands that when you exercise more, you have more energy overall. By improving your cardiovascular health, exercise makes it possible for you to do all the things you need to do each day and still have energy left over.
It also allows you to get more and a better quality of sleep. One study showed that just 150 minutes of exercise per week (that’s 30 minutes a day for 5 days) dramatically reduced the symptoms of insomnia.
Give your heart health a boost
When it comes to heart health, people tend to think it’s all about cardio. But you can also enjoy great heart health benefits from strength training. One study even showed that strength training was even more effective in preventing cardiovascular disease than exercises such as walking or cycling.
Studies have shown that resistance workouts can lower blood pressure, reduce levels of bad cholesterol, and improve circulation. This all means you’ll have a healthier heart and be at decreased risk of hypertension and heart disease in the long run.
Improve your mental health
Exercise isn’t just good for your physical body. It also has amazing benefits for your mental health and psychological wellbeing. A 2018 meta-analysis of various clinical trials found that strength training can help to reduce the symptoms of depression, especially when combined with other treatment methods.
Strength training triggers the release of endorphins, feel-good chemicals that improve your mood. It also improves your confidence and helps you to release stress, both of which have major mental health benefits when practiced regularly.
Look and feel better
Strength training can help you to look leaner. Since muscle is denser than fat, you might find that you lose inches or your clothes fit more loosely, even if the scale doesn’t move. You’ll have more muscle definition and less body fat, helping you to look your best and feel amazing about your appearance.
How much strength training is enough?
The good news is that you don’t need to work out for hours every day to see the benefits of strength training. Adding two to three 30-minute strength-based workouts to your week will be more than enough for most people.
We recommend working with a trainer or attending a class if you’re just starting out. This will ensure you are exercising with the proper form. Performing exercises incorrectly can lead to injury as well as reducing the effectiveness of the moves. Start slowly and don’t push yourself too hard, too quickly.
We’ll see you in the gym!