Whether you’re just starting to think about getting into strength training, or you are, quite frankly, ripped, it’s important to understand just how beneficial it is not just for the size of your muscles, but your overall health and well being.
Building muscle and being stronger are as good a reason as any for adding strength training to your workout. But when you stop going to the gym as often as you should, or you stop all together, the added motivation that comes from knowing all of strength training’s health benefits will help to keep your program on track – and help you enjoy even more of the benefits.
Strength training helps you lose weight in two ways. First, as with any activity, you burn more calories simply by doing the activity. Secondly, muscle tissue burns 2.5 times as many calories per day as fat tissue. That means, if you lost 10 pounds of fat and replaced it with 10 pounds of muscle, you would burn 300 more calories per day – without any extra activity.
Fueled by images of young body builders using weight machines and pumping iron, strength training is not usually considered as part of an exercise program for older people. But more and more studies show that it helps to increase bone density, which can counteract the effects of rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, poor diet and lack of exercise; and help to prevent osteoporosis.
Your balance and coordination improves when you strength train. Not only does that increase your confidence and poise, it can reduce your chances of suffering a fall by 40%.
In addition to reducing arthritis pain, strength training can help to balance your blood sugar, which helps anyone with diabetes lead a healthier life.
It might seem odd that the more you work your muscles, the more energy you’ll have. But strength training promotes the production of endorphins, (natural opiates produced in your pituitary gland), which make you feel great. And you’ll feel even better when you get the extra sleep that strength training encourages.
If you’re just starting a strength training program, it is very important to consult a professional trainer to avoid injury and get the most of all of these benefits and more.