Get Serious about Strength Training

When you strength train, your muscles work against resistance. Resistance might take the form of free weights or weight machines, your body weight, or resistance bands. Strength training is an important part of a complete workout routine. It can help preserve and build strong muscles. Plus it can benefit your overall health in many other ways.

Strength training can help you:

  • Preserve and strengthen your muscles. Over time, your body loses muscle mass. Muscle loss affects your ability to move around and be active. That, in turn, leads to less physical activity, which means even more muscle loss. It’s a vicious cycle. Strength training can help prevent that loss of muscle mass. It can also make your muscles stronger by working them harder than they are used to.
  • Move more easily. Stronger muscles make it easier for you to be active.
  • Better manage your weight. Having more muscle mass can increase your metabolism. And a faster metabolism can help you burn more calories. This can make it easier for you to manage your weight.
  • Strengthen your bones. Stronger muscles help build stronger bones. This can lower your risk for osteoporosis (weakened bones).
  • Strengthen your tendons and ligaments. Strong connective tissues can help keep your joints stable and help lower your risk of joint injury.
  • Lower your risk of injuries. Strong muscles in your core and throughout your body can help improve your posture and body mechanics. This can make it less likely you’ll get hurt doing daily activities, working out, and playing sports.
  • Lower your risk of other health problems. By helping you stay active and manage your weight, strength training can help reduce your risk of health problems. This includes health problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes.
  • Sharpen your mental focus and think more clearly. Studies show that strength training isn’t only good for your body. It’s good for your mind too.
  • Boost your self-image. Building lean muscle and losing fat can help you feel better about yourself.

As this list shows, strength training has many benefits. That’s why it’s best to make it a part of your complete workout routine, along with aerobic training, and balance and flexibility training. For best results, strength train at least twice a week. And try to choose a range of exercises that work the major muscle groups in both your upper and lower body. Rest for 48 hours between strength training sessions that use the same muscle groups. Your muscles need this rest to grow stronger. Talk with your doctor before you start a new fitness routine.