Although cardiovascular exercises are great for increasing your heart rate, burning calories, and strengthening your lungs, your workout routine isn’t complete without strength training. People are under the misconception that lifting weights automatically leads to bulking up. This is especially a concern for women, who avoid strength training out of fear of developing a “manly” body. This article will debunk these myths about strength training and inform you of some lesser known benefits. So grab your towel, weight lifting gloves, and water bottle and let’s get started!
1. Build Strength
The name says it all. Strength training will, in fact, make you stronger. Many times women (and some men) exercise to lose weight, thin out, and fit into a smaller size. And while these are great goals to set, being a stronger version of you is pretty cool too. Strength training helps build muscle mass, making it easier for you to perform certain types of exercises. Things like pull-ups, push-ups, deadlifts, and hammer curls will all become easier over time if you incorporate strength training into your workout regime. But so will everyday tasks like carrying the groceries, lifting your child, and opening that stubborn jar of pickles. Strength training builds your strength using resistance training. There are two types – isometric and isotonic. Isometric resistance involves contracting your muscles against nonmoving objects (the floor, a wall, etc.). Isotonic training involves contracting your muscles using range of motion (lifting weights). Both help develop and tone your muscles, making you a force to be reckoned with!
2. Improved Balance and Mobility
If you struggle with keeping your balance and moving swiftly or efficiently, strength training can help. This is especially important for athletes who need to be agile and quick on their feet. Improved balance, posture, and even coordination are all a result of strength training practices. It makes perfect sense when you think about it. If you stand on one foot, it’s the muscles in your legs and core that keep you from falling over. The stronger those muscles are, the easier it is to stand still without swaying or needing to hold onto something. A strong core also means better posture. The muscles in your lower back and abdomen connect to your pelvis and spin, helping your torso move freely. When these muscles are strong, it helps you maintain proper posture both during and after your workouts. You can learn more here about getting the most out of your strength training workouts for optimal results.
3. Lose Weight and Keep it Off
Losing weight is a daily struggle for many people. Even with adequate exercise and a seemingly “good” diet, it can be hard to shake those pesky 10 or 15 extra pounds. If you’re simply doing cardio workouts, you’re missing a big piece of the puzzle. Strength training not only keeps your body burning calories long after you leave the gym, but it’s proven to help you keep off the weight you lose. In fact, a shocking 90% of people who lose weight, eventually put it back on! Strength training helps increase your resting metabolism, which means your body is burning fat both during and after your workout. While cardio exercising does burn more calories in the moment, it doesn’t do much to boost your metabolism over time.
Your metabolism is the rate at which your body burns calories and fat. The faster your metabolism, the more calories you burn and the faster you lose weight. If you to see the best weight and fat loss results, try performing strength training 3-4 days during the week. This will help you see the long-lasting benefits.
4. Boosts Your Mood and Energy Levels
How many of us complain about being tired or cranky due to lack of sleep, stress, and countless other catalysts? Exercise in general is an amazing mood booster. Every time you perform some form of physical activity, your brain releases chemicals known as endorphins. Endorphins signal feelings of happiness, relaxation, and positivity. This is why so many people enjoy exercise and look forward to it at the start or end of each day. These endorphins combat stress and make it easier for you to fall asleep at night. It’s one, big, positive circle! But where does strength training come into play? Certain studies found that strength training increases the number of endorphins released during your workout. Which is just one more reason to incorporate some weight lifting and resistance training into your regime.
5. Helps Treat Chronic Conditions
The world is filled with alternative medicine and more natural options for treating common ailments. If you suffer from arthritis, high blood pressure, or diabetes, strength training might just be your cure. This doesn’t mean you should abandon any treatment plans or medications you’re taking without first consulting your doctor. But it does mean that strength training might lessen symptoms and leave you feeling healthier, over all.
Arthritis is the inflammation of a person’s joints, most commonly found in the knees, hips, wrists, and hands. Symptoms of arthritis include stiff and painful joints and swelling, which affects mobility. We already know that strength training makes your muscles stronger. When the muscles around your joints are stronger, they’re also more stable. This helps support weak joints. It also promotes natural lubrication and prevents bone loss. Arthritis mostly affects older individuals who experience a deterioration of bone mass over time.
Diabetes affects nearly 100 million Americans and while some can improve their condition through diet alone, others need medication or even insulin shots to stay healthy and safe. Strength training is a beneficial technique to add to the diabetic patient arsenal. Lifting weights improves your body’s natural response to insulin. It can also improve the way your body uses blood sugar.
If you’re exercising at all, you’re already ahead of the game! But the type of exercises you’re doing plays an important role in your results. Strictly cardio will burn calories and fat but won’t build muscle and may not keep the weight off. Strength training makes you stronger, leaner, and tones muscles in all those problem areas (stomach, thighs, butt). So trade in that treadmill for some dumb bells (at least a few days a week), and you’ll be shocked at how your mind and body change.
Article Submitted By Community Writer