Do you strength train? Do you think lifting weights is only for body builders and people who want to bulk up? It’s not! Strength training has many benefits for those of us trying to lose weight, tone up and get more fit and healthy in general.
1. By improving joint function and strengthening the bones, muscles, and ligaments, strength training can help prevent injury.
2. Exercising with weights releases those “feel good” endorphins in the brain that improve mood and make you feel better.
3. Strength training has been shown to have incredible health benefits such as: lowering bad cholesterol and raising good cholesterol, reducing the risks of breast cancer.
4. Because it strengthens the bones and increases bone density, strength training helps to reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
5. It reduces the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
6. Strength training firms and tones the body by reducing fat and building lean muscle mass for firmer, more well-defined muscles and a leaner appearance. When strength training, you may notice that you’re losing inches even though your weight may not change over a period of time.
7. Improved balance and flexibility are two nice side effects of strength training. Balance is enhanced with stronger core muscles and flexibility is increased as range of motion improves.
8. Strength training has been shown to improve sleep by allowing you to fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly.
9. If you do other forms of physical activity, such as running or cycling, stronger core and lower body muscles can improve your form and performance.
10. Perhaps the greatest benefit of strength training, however – at least for those losing weight – is the calorie-burning benefit. Calories are burned in muscle tissue. One pound of lean body mass burns anywhere from 15 to 50 calories daily and stores 788 calories of energy, while one pound of fat burns only approximately six calories daily, and stores a whopping 3500 calories of energy!
I think I’d rather have a pound of muscle, thank you very much!
So, now that you’ve seen the benefits of strength-training, where do you begin?
Fitblogger offers a nice 12-week weight training plan. While many of the exercises do require gym equipment, most can be modified to be used with dumbbells. One thing I love about the Fitblogger plan is that all the exercises are linked to videos where you can watch the moves performed correctly.
Fitness Magazine’s website also has a helpful article entitled, Strength Training for Beginners.
And, of course, there are a lot of great videos, such as Jillian Michael’s No More Trouble Zones, which focuses on toning up a woman’s trouble spots with weights and cardio circuit training. While it can be tough for someone just starting out, she does show modifications for beginners.
So, what are you waiting for? If you’ve never done strength training, you don’t know what you’re missing. It’s actually fun and it’s great to see your body begin to tone up and start feeling your muscles getting stronger.
This post is linked to Top Ten Tuesday.
Do or do not. There is no try.