Most of us know that strength training is important, but that doesn't make it any easier to do it. It may help to know why strength training is so important and all the ways it can help you look better and feel better. Check out my favorite reasons to lift weights and get motivated to start strength training today.
When you lift weights, you build lean muscle tissue which is more metabolically active than fat. When you increase your muscle, you also increase metabolism which means you're burning more calories throughout the day. Regular strength training is just as important as cardio exercise for losing fat and getting fit.
It may seem obvious that lifting weights can make you stronger...but what some people forget is that it doesn't just make you strong for your workouts, it makes you stronger in other areas of your life as well. When you lift weights on a regular basis, everything else becomes a little easier too - carrying groceries, housework, gardening, carrying the kids, etc. And, don't forget, it doesn't just make your muscles stronger, it makes your bones stronger too which can help reduce or even manage osteoporosis.
The nice thing about strength training is that it strengthens everything, not just your muscles and bones. When you lift weights, you also strengthen connective tissue - the ligaments and tendons that keep your body moving well on a regular basis. Strengthening your connective tissue will help you continue to operate in peak condition and protect your body from injuries.
Recent studies have shown that arthritis sufferers who lifted weights actually reduced their joint pain. By strengthening the muscles, they were able to cushion and protect the joints during impact activities like walking. And don't forget...most physical therapy programs incorporate strength training to help rehab a multitude of injuries, which just proves that lifting weights can make a difference in getting better and having a better quality of life.
When we don't preserve muscle mass with strength training, what happens when we grow older? We lose muscle mass and that's often what leads to weight gain and loss of balance and flexibility. Lifting weights can help you work your joints through a full range of motion, keeping them strong and flexible and keeping you steady on your feet.
Most athletes these days follow some type of strength training program to keep them strong and avoid injuries. Training specific to your sport can also help you improve your power, strength and speed to make you a better athlete. Even kids and teens often benefit from some type of strength training when it comes to playing sports
According to some studies, both men and women feel better about themselves when they lift weights. By getting stronger and noticing changes over time like being able to lift more weight and do more exercises, both men and women build confidence and, especially for women, improve body image. Lifting weights, along with other types of exercise, also helps build confidence and can even help manage symptoms of depression and anxiety...a great way to deal with stress in a healthy way.
Some studies have shown that regular strength training can help reduce high blood pressure over time, so this may become another way (aside from cardio exercise) to help treat high blood pressure in some people. If you do have high blood pressure, I don't have to remind you that you should always talk to the doc before doing any new activities (but I am anyway). But, if you get the okay, consider starting a basic program along with other recommendations from your doc for helping reduce your blood pressure.
If you've been doing the same cardio workouts for a long time, that can get a little boring. Strength training is a great way to spice things up and add a completely different challenge to your body. The nice thing about strength training is that it offers so many ways to set up your workouts...there's always something new to try and you never run out of new exercises, different types of resistance, new routines and a variety of ways to work your body.
One thing that often surprises people after they start lifting weights is how it trickles into other areas of their lives. I often get phone calls and emails from clients telling me how they were able to work in the garden without back pain or walk up the stairs without aching knees. It's those little improvements that offer the greatest rewards and it doesn't take much time with weights to see and feel those kinds of improvements.