The first thing that most of you probably think of when “strength training” or “weight lifting” is mentioned includes big, sweaty muscle men…or, maybe you are one of those! One of the main points I want to make in this post is that strength training does not automatically lead to veins bulging out of your biceps; however, it does lead to some great health benefits:
- Development of stronger bones. Strength training increases bone density and reduces the risk of osteoporosis.
- Weight control. Muscle burns more calories than fat. The more muscle you have and are building, the more caloric expenditure you experience, even while not working out!
- Reduction of injury risk. Along with your bones, muscular strength also helps to strengthen and protect your joints. It can improve balance and lead to less falls and accidents.
- Increased endurance and stamina. As your muscles go stronger, fatigue does not happen so easily.
- Chronic condition management. Strength training can reduce the signs and symptoms of many chronic conditions, including arthritis, back pain, diabetes, obesity and osteoporosis.
- Sharpened focus. All physical activity and exercise, including strength training, increases oxygen and blood flow to the brain, which helps with concentration and other intellectual functions.
Not convinced? Still think that 50 lb. dumbbells and mirrors are the only option out there? In the most loving way I can say this…GET WITH IT, because there are MANY ways to strength train! If you just take the time to find what works for you, I can practically guarantee that you will see (and FEEL) the results! You don’t even have to go to the gym if you’d rather not. Here are some of the main types of strength training you should consider:
- Body weight. You can do many exercises with little or no equipment. Try push-ups, pull-ups, abdominal crunches and leg squats.
- Resistance tubing. Resistance tubing is inexpensive, lightweight tubing that provides resistance when stretched. These can be purchased in nearly any sporting goods store.
- Free weights. Barbells and dumbbells are classic strength training tools.
- Weight machines. Most fitness centers offer various resistance machines. You can also invest in weight machines for use at home.
Consider yourself to just be a runner or the “cardio type”? By no means do I want to deter you from continuing what you enjoy doing; although, have you considered that not only does cardiovascular training burn calories and fat, but that it also burns muscle? Well, it does! We love the benefits of cardio, but that one negative aspect can be detrimental to any type of effort towards weight loss or muscle toning. That is where strength training shines! Cardiovascular and strength training make the perfect pair to achieve the results you are desiring. Do some of your own research or ask your favorite personal trainer how you can start being more diligent with adding strength training into your fitness routine!