Strength training benefits everyone regardless of age, gender, health status, or skill level. It improves overall physical and mental health including a healthy heart, stronger bones, improved cognitive function, and reduction of risk in chronic metabolic conditions such as diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension, and obesity! What can lifting weights do for YOU?
1- Improve your body composition.
You need to lift weight to lose weight (as mentioned here). Strength training increases muscle mass while simultaneously reducing body fat. Two for one! Training at least 2x a week improves your likelihood of keeping off excess body fat over time. Maintaining lean muscle mass on your frame reduces your risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and even some cancers.
2- Increase your muscular strength, power, and endurance.
This one is pretty obvious. You need to work the muscle to grow the muscle. What actually happens is that strength training creates microtears in your muscle fibers, effectively damaging them. The body then repairs that damage (with the help of protein) and the muscles grow back stronger. Make sure to target ALL your major muscle groups each week: chest, back, shoulders, arms, core, legs, and glutes through compound movements.
3- Enhance flexibility.
Strength training improves postural health and range of motion for your joints and connective tissues! To borrow from Alwyn Cosgrove, every session should begin with a proper warmup aka RAMP – Range of Motion, Activation, and Movement Prep. This not only prepares your body for the work to come but improves your flexibility, joint health, and functional movement patterns.
4- Improve bone density.
Did you know strength training is not just about your muscles? It also improves your bone mass. The load (or weight) you work with adds metabolic stress to both your muscles and your bones, stimulating the production of bone cells. This in turn increases the density of your bones to manage that load. Improved bone density reduces the risk of fractures, especially if we trip and fall, or as we age.
5- Reduce effects of aging and improves immune system.
As mentioned, strength training improves your bone mass/density, thereby reducing your risk of fatal injuries or physical dysfunctions. Did you know that strength training also lowers your level of chronic inflammation? When you properly and routinely activate your muscles, they release compounds within your body to help control the body’s long-term inflammatory response. Training will also improve your immune system. It promotes blood flow and the elimination of harmful waste. This is also where rest and recovery comes into play and why it’s so important in your exercise regimen. Your body grows stronger at rest. In other words, don’t overtrain.
6- Improves management of blood glucose.
An increased level of muscle mass correlates to better management/control of your blood glucose level, thereby reducing your risk of type 2 diabetes. Glucose is the body’s source of fuel. The more you use your muscles, the more they have to pull from the bloodstream for fuel, effectively lowering your blood sugar level. Muscles are also more metabolically active than fat, meaning they require more “energy” to maintain itself than fat does. As a result, you burn more calories at rest with a greater level of muscle mass. More calories burned means less body fat! Also fun fact, muscle mass improves insulin sensitivity thereby increasing your body’s efficiency at delivering glucose from blood to your muscles. But wait, there’s more!
7- Promotes optimal cardiovascular health.
Studies have shown that even just one strength training session a week significantly decreases your risk of cardiovascular disease, lowers blood pressure, reduces cholesterol levels, and increases longevity. For all the reasons listed above, including body fat reduction and improved blood circulation, strength training helps reduce fat in and around your heart, known as cardiac adipose tissue. Any form of physical exercise will help reduce this type of fat, which is associated with the link between obesity and high risks of cardiovascular disease.
Strength training is beneficial for all! The ideal training program will be specific to your personal goals and fitness level. To learn more about what type of strength training and overall exercise and nutrition program that works best for YOU and achieving YOUR goals, reach out to me for your FREE strategy session! HERE WE GO!