Strength training is a valuable addition to any weight loss plan, no matter what you are trying to achieve.
Not only will you look more toned and sculpted, you’ll also feel stronger and healthier and find even you everyday activities easier to complete.
Men and women of all ages can benefit from a bit of resistance training. Even just two or three short sessions a week can make a huge difference to the strength and condition of your muscular system. It will help you to look and feel your best.
Benefits of strength training
Strength training gives you plenty of benefits, not only for your weight loss goals, but also for your general health and well being.
Here are some of the best things regular strength training can help you achieve….
Adults lose significant amounts of muscle mass after the age of 20. Strength training can help to prevent this, and rebuild whatever has been lost.
Increased calorie burn
Because muscle tissues use up a lot of energy when you do weights, you can burn a lot of calories during your workout. But more importantly, you will continue to burn more throughout the day as your body recovers.
Regular strength training can actually increase the body’s metabolic rate by up to 15%. Over time, this will condition your body to burn fat more efficiently.
Performing regular exercises that move your joints through their full range of motion helps to improve their strength and flexibility. This can also help with your balance and prevent injury.
The stronger your muscles, bones, tendons and ligaments are, the straighter your body will naturally stand and sit.
Improved balance and stability
Strong, resilient muscles make it easier for your body to balance itself. This means you can do all your daily activities with increased sturdiness, so you reduce the risk of falls, accidents and injury.
See Also: Core Stability Exercises For Beginners
Greater day-to-day functionality
Weight training gives you more strength and energy to do all your everyday activities easily.
You’ll notice a difference even in small things like being able to lift a heavy box, or finding it easier to do the vacuuming.
Bone mass starts to decrease after the age of 30. Regular strength training can help to increase you bone mass density and reduce the risk of fractures, osteoporosis and arthritis.
Strong, well-balanced muscles can help to reduce the risk of injuries. Many injuries occur when one muscle is weaker than its opposing muscle group, and stronger tendons and ligaments reduce your chances of sustaining general injuries.
See Also: Best Warm Up Exercises For Beginners
Reduced risk of heart disease
Strength training can help you to improve the condition and strength of your heart muscles, making them more resilient to stress and lowering the risk of heart disease.
Lower blood pressure
You can help to prevent and treat high blood pressure by doing regular strength training, as this will strengthen the heart and enable it to beat more efficiently.
Reduced back pain
If you suffer from lower back pain, you can help to alleviate it by strengthening the muscles.
Studies have suggested that strength training produces a biochemical change in the brain that can help to alleviate depression.
It can also help you to sleep better and generally improving your overall quality of life.
Strength Training For Women
Many women shy away from strength training for fear that it will make them bulk up.
But it is actually genetically impossible for most women to bulk up the way men can. And it is definitely impossible to turn fat into muscle or muscle into fat, as the cells are fundamentally different.
If you’re worried, it can be helpful to understand the basic physiology of strength training and how it changes your muscles.
Basically, strength training causes your muscle fibers to thicken, which changes the shape of the muscle.
If the muscle is made to lift very heavy weights, it will respond by over time significantly increasing the muscle size.
So in order to avoid the appearance of ‘big’ muscles, women should generally lift lighter loads. Don’t go too light though – without enough work, the muscles will not tone up.
The key is to choose a weight that gives you enough of a challenge to feel like work, but that you can do 15 repetitions of without pain.
Here’s how to get started…
The key to starting a strength training program is not to push yourself too hard to soon.
Your body needs time to adjust to these new pressures and challenges, so you need to work up slowly to avoid injury, soreness, and burning out.
You should think of the first six weeks as your learning period, where you concentrate on getting the techniques right and deciding what exercises to do, which muscle groups you want to work, and what weight you should use.
Start by doing two sessions a week, building up to three sessions when you feel ready for more of a challenge.
Remember to always warm up and stretch before you start, and to breathe properly throughout each movement.
As you get stronger, you can increase the weight and/or the number of sets and repetitions to get more of a workout.