Author: Troy Theodosiou
No disrespect to cardio, but if you want to blast fat, get in shape, and rock everything that comes your way, strength training is where it’s at!
Strength training, also known as weight or resistance training is a physical activity designed to improve muscular fitness by exercising a specific muscle or muscle group against external resistance, including free-weights, weight machines, or your own body weight, according to the American Heart Association.
Strength training isn’t just about bulking up and building muscle mass, its benefits include improved posture, better sleep, gaining bone density, maintaining weight loss and boosting metabolism.
Increasing overall strength. Weight training improves a person’s ability to perform taxing physical tasks as well as normal, everyday activities—like bringing in the groceries and playing with the dog. It also increases the strength of connective tissue, muscles and tendons, decreasing the risk of injury.
Managing weight. Simply having more muscle helps the body burn up extra calories — even when just sitting still.
Building up bone density. One of the best ways to control bone loss (which is inevitable with age) is to add weight-bearing exercise to a workout. Increased bone density reduces the risk of fractures, especially in older adults. And protecting the body against osteoporosis may also lead to an improvement in balance, resulting in fewer falls.
Helping the heart. “Cardio” exercise isn’t the only physical activity with cardiovascular benefits. A resistance training routine has been shown to lower blood pressure, in some cases as effectively as taking medication. The American Heart Association recommends adults aim for at least two strength training sessions per week.
Sleeping better. People who regularly exercise sleep better and those who work out using weights are no exception.
Making an appointment with a personal trainer or fitness specialist is a great first step when starting weight training. These professionals will be able to show you proper form, explain the basics, and set up a weekly program. For experienced athletes, these professionals can explain how to overload the body so you keep achieving strength and endurance gains.