When done correctly, strength training is one of the best actions you can perform for your body. Although any safe physical exercise is good, lifting weights has unique advantages for your body and overall health.
Let’s look at some of the top benefits of strength training that both women and men can enjoy—and how to get started.
Some Huge Benefits of Strength Training Regularly
Strength training is also known as resistance training or weight lifting. It can include the use of weight machines, free weights, or simply your own body weight to improve muscle strength and tone.
It’s common to associate strength training with muscular bodybuilders or figure competitors, but there are actually many reasons even the average person should be lifting. Here are the biggest benefits to your overall health and fitness.
1. Preserves Lean Muscle Mass
If you’re inactive, you can lose up to 3-5 percent of your muscle mass every 10 years after turning 30. This can lead to loss of stamina and strength, weakness, changes in how your body looks, and other problems associated with weak muscles.
Thankfully, strength training with muscle building and maintaining as much lean muscle mass as you can—no matter your age.
2. Keeps You Fit and Strong
This is probably the most obvious of all benefits of strength training, but no less crucial. Weight lifting keeps you strong by strengthening and toning your muscles, allowing you to move through life feeling good on a daily basis. Having functional strength helps decrease your chance of injury through better mobility and even flexibility.
It’s also a myth that strength training for women leads to bulky muscles. In fact, lifting actually tones the body and helps improve body composition for a leaner physique.
3. Burns Many Calories
Cardio exercise like walking, running, using an elliptical machine, etc., is known for burning calories. But strength training actually helps you burn more calories over time—even if you burn less during the workout than cardio.
Building more muscle through strength training may help increase your body’s resting metabolic rate, which is how fast your body burns calories throughout the day.
Exercise also leads your body to keep burning calories afterward, which is known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, or EPOC [*].
4. May Improve Glucose Control
Strength training is one of several healthy lifestyle changes recommended to people with type 2 diabetes. That’s because weight training may help improve glycemic control along with muscle strength [*].
5. Can Help Arthritis
According to the Arthritis Foundation, resistance training or strength training can help manage pain from arthritis by strengthening and lubricating muscles around joints. It can also help in controlling joint pain and swelling while decreasing bone loss.
6. Boosts Your Mood
Exercise lifts your endorphin levels, leading to a euphoric feeling that can improve your energy and mood. This is why regular exercise, including strength training, is recommended for reducing stress and even helping anxiety and depression.
7. Helps You Maintain a Healthy Weight
As mentioned above, strength training can help you burn more calories even after your workout is done. Combining lifting weights with aerobic exercise, a balanced diet, and daily mindfulness techniques is the best formula for fat loss and weight loss maintenance.
How to Use the Benefits of Strength Training
Ready to make strength training a regular part of your life? Great! Now, you might be wondering where to start.
Thankfully, you don’t need a fancy gym membership or expensive weight machines to reap the benefits of strength training. Remember, you can even use your own body weight!
Some of the best (and easiest) body weight strength building exercises include:
- Glute bridges
- Leg lifts
Starting with the basics will help you master the correct form for each move. If you’re unsure about the right form, online searches from trusted training or exercise websites can help. Or, consider enlisting the help of a personal trainer.
Beyond body weight, you can start doing strength training exercises with free weights, barbells, kettlebells, or weight machines, if you have access. Many of the exercises mentioned above can be performed with weights, including squats, lunges, and bridges.
Other good weight-based movements are deadlifts, upright rows, dumbbell rows, bicep curls, and more. Just ensure you’re using the correct form to keep from injuring yourself from incorrect movements.
And of course, always consult your doctor before beginning a strength training routine, especially if you have health issues. They can help recommend the best exercise for your needs.
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