FLEX YOUR MUSCLE
Top 10 benefits of strength training that will get you off your butt!!
1. FAT LOSS.
Strength training burns calories, but it also increases muscle mass. More mass means a higher metabolism, for extra fat-burning even while you sleep. Strength training also has a longer afterburn effect, so you burn calories as your body returns to a normal state after the exercise is over.
2. REDUCED CHANCE OF OSTEOPOROSIS.
Women are especially at a risk for developing osteoporosis. This might not be a concern for you now, but it may be someday. Strength training increases bone density, which then lowers the risk of osteoporosis.
3. BETTER POSTURE.
In addition to increasing your bone density, including keeping your spine strong and healthy, improving your overall strength will keep you upright, and for longer. In a world where many of us are sedentary, we can develop very bad habits. The good news is that weight training calls our attention to these and can correct them. Shoulder strengthening can also improve those muscles and their positioning.
4. REDUCED PAIN, ESPECIALLY BACK PAIN.
Even if you suffer from chronic pain, you might still get benefits from a strength training routine, provided you listen to your body. Studies have shown that a moderate resistance routine can alleviate neck, back, shoulder and knee pain, as well as pain associated with arthritis, osteoporosis and fibromyalgia. And strengthening your muscles and bones and improving posture and form will only help prevent pain in the future.
5. YOU BECOME PRODUCTIVE AND BETTER AT SETTING GOALS.
This is another of my favourite reasons for strength training, perhaps because it’s so practical and applicable to the rest of life.
Strength training is especially conducive to goal-setting because it requires you to constantly push yourself to fatigue. I mean, literally—that’s how muscle grows. So you might have a simple goal of wanting to use 10kgs dumbbells for curls. Or maybe you might want to do a pull-up. Maybe you want to do a Marathon or enter Australian Ninja or one something similar (I don’t know if that would be fun or terrifying). But setting goals in the gym is a lot easier than it is in life because it’s so much more straightforward and it’s generally more free of psychological fears and worries. But building up that goal-accomplishing muscle will also build your confidence and give you a blueprint for accomplishing more of those outside-of-the-gym goals, even if they are slightly terrifying.
6. HIGHER ENERGY THROUGHOUT THE DAY.
This sounds possibly counter-intuitive, I know. It’s true though; exercising and spending more energy actually gives you more energy throughout the day.
7. IMPROVED MOOD.
This is my favourite reason of all, and I believe, the most important. Recent research has shown that strength training alone reduces your risk of depression significantly. Better yet, improved mood happens regardless of whether you are prone to depression to begin with, and regardless of how much weight you lift or how often. We knew that aerobic exercise produced these results, but while these results aren’t different from those of studies involving aerobic exercise, the fact that the benefits from strength training alone are the same is new information.
We have known for a long time that exercise does loads—I mean, LOADS—to improve your mood. I can emphatically add my personal experience to this. There is nothing in my daily ritual that does more for me. Part of it is the wonderful brain chemicals, but also it’s the sense of productivity, zen-ness, and confidence that also shifts my emotional and mental state.
8. IMPROVED SLEEP.
Strength training in particular has been shown to help you sleep better and fall asleep faster, in addition to the body of evidence showing that all exercise helps sleep to some degree. Getting a good night’s sleep can make the difference between a terrible day and a wonderful one, even with all factors the same. Sleep makes you more attentive, present, energetic, happy, peaceful and properly objective and less anxious, irritable, overwhelmed and even disease-prone.
9. LOOK YOUNGER.
We naturally tend to add kilos as we age, so the added metabolism and fat loss that strength training provides is a good start to reducing your apparent age. We also tend to lose muscle mass, so keeping your body strong and healthy also shaves off years. But studies have also shown that strength training specifically can not only slow down aging, but literally reverse it.
10. INCREASED COLLAGEN AND GROWTH HORMONE PRODUCTION.
As we age, we lose collagen and human growth hormone (HGH) in our body, making our skin thinner and our bones and connective tissue weaker. Strength training stimulates both of these in the body naturally, meaning not only does it keep you looking young, it helps keep you feeling and moving like a young person as well.
WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?
I’m sure you noticed that many of these strength training benefits stem from the same core benefit, and many may seem similar. I mean, if you have less depression it seems likely you’ll have less anxiety and sleep better, right?
Keep in mind that you don’t need to use weights. You can get all the benefits of strength training above just from using your own body as resistance with bodyweight workouts.