Whether you made it your resolution to finally sculpt that six pack, or you’re looking to improve your health in other ways, adding strength training to your routine is essential. Even if #gains aren’t what you’re after, strength training will help your body (and your mind) in more ways than you might imagine.
If you’re new to strength training or it’s been a while since you last picked up a weight, taking a strength training class is the best way to learn to move safely, ensuring you’re maintaining proper form and using the right weight for your fitness level. (Make sure you learn from a certified trainer to prevent injury until you feel confident to move on your own!)
Strength training is one of the best ways to support your overall health and wellness. Though we could write countless blogs about why everyone should add strength training to their routine, we’ll start with a few of our favorite benefits:
1. Increase resting metabolism to promote weight loss
Strength training is one of the most effective methods of weight loss. This is thanks to its ability to increase your resting metabolism. A higher resting metabolism means your body will work harder to burn calories, whether or not you’re doing strenuous exercise.
2. Improve cardiovascular health and chronic disease management
According to U.S. News, a 2014 study in the Journal of Applied Physiology demonstrated that subjects who practiced strength training over the course of 12 years found that strength training is more effective at preventing disease and lowering abdominal fat (the fat that surrounds the heart) than cardiovascular exercise. Live long and prosper.
3. Lower risk of injury
Regular strength training builds core strength, increases bone density, improves balance, and helps protect your body’s joints. All of these benefits add up to a reduced risk of injury both in and out of the gym. A 2013 study from the British Journal of Sports Medicine saw that strength training lowered risk of injury by 68% for 26,000 people tested, outperforming stretching and general physical exercise alone.
4. Increase mobility and flexibility
Stretching is an important part of any fitness routine, but studies show that strength training actually plays a bigger role in improving flexibility and mobility. Strength training is an eccentric exercise, meaning it emphasizes muscle lengthening. (Think about what your leg muscles are doing when you lower into a squat, for example.) Eccentric exercises tend to increase flexibility and mobility more than static stretching.
5. Boost energy levels
Strength training elevates the level of endorphins your brain releases, which leads to an all-natural lift in your body’s energy levels. While we would never tell you to skip your morning latte, but isn’t it nice to know you could?
6. Enhance brain and mental health
Speaking of endorphins, those lovely little hormones do more than just boost your energy. After a round of strength training, you’ll experience a mood boost, too. A happy body leads to a happy mind.
7. Protect bone health and muscle mass
At around age 30, we start losing as much as 3 to 5 percent of our lean muscle mass per year. (Thanks, aging!) Even if you’re not looking to build up muscle, strength training is hugely important to protect your muscles and ensure they stay strong throughout your life. Strength training also improves bone density, structure, and strength, which is highly important regardless of age.
Convinced yet? Whether you’re a total beginner or a pro, try a strength training class and start reaping the benefits!