Strength training isn’t necessarily something that comes to everyone’s mind when putting together an exercise plan. It is generally viewed as being the realm of athletes or people looking to build visible muscle. This is an unfortunate association given that strength training can be invaluable to everyone when used appropriately. It is easy enough to find a routine that isn’t about visible muscle so much as it is about building tone and lean muscle. This is typically what most of us are going to want and focuses on low weight strength training with a high number of repetitions. You can further guard against unwelcome visible muscle by spreading strength training out and only taking part in it every two weeks. A biweekly addition will help you get all the benefits you might want without being an undue burden on your already established routine. Let’s take a closer look at some of the long-term benefits of strength training to add that extra bit of motivation towards actually considering this idea.
The single biggest reason to consider adding strength to your exercise routine is helping with weight management. Weight becomes a problem as we age and our metabolism slows. Our bodies simply aren’t putting the same demand on systems as they used to and this leads to a gradual accumulation of excess weight. All of this, in turn, makes us more lethargic which further leads to a slowing of our metabolism. Building lean muscle and maintaining helps to boost the body’s resting metabolic rate thanks to muscle requiring more to maintain. This higher resting metabolic rate means we’ll put on less weight all while our body burns through excess stores as it works towards an overall healthier state. It doesn’t even take much to achieve this as long as we put in the work necessary to build the muscle. You will generally experience an overall boost in energy levels alongside building lean muscle as your body returns to healthier shape. Find what you’re comfortable with and stick with it to keep these benefits.
Straight to your Health
Building lean muscle ends up helping you maintain your health in more ways than your weight. Most of us want to build and maintain that lean muscle as it makes resisting the effects of aging easier. The decrease in muscle mass tends to make it easier for us to hurt ourselves and works against the health of both your muscles and bones. Interestingly enough, regular strength training can actually directly help bone health by encouraging maintenance of bone density. We all need that over time. Maintaining bone density and muscle mass helps to keep our quality of life over time. This can help with management of chronic conditions too. Keeping up flexibility and strength appears to help with conditions such as arthritis and generalized physical pain while the actual exertion reduces risk factors for conditions like heart disease and diabetes. Lastly, all forms of exercise can actually help benefit your mind as well. Exercise has long been known to have an influence on mental health.
A Workout for Your Mind
We often get taught to think of the body and mind as being two separate things. It comes from a culture where the idea of “mind or matter” and similar sentiments separate them. The truth is that the physical well-being of the body directly influences the health of the mind as well as the reverse. They are interlinked. That’s why exercise actually benefits the mind. It leads to the release of various chemicals within the mind that help to stimulate the reward centers of the brain and can help fight back against conditions such as depression and other chronic mental health issues. Regular exercise also improves overall blood flow too. This is particularly important as there is evidence that suggests this improve blood flow may help support cognitive function as we age and help us to think clearer and learn faster than we would otherwise. Strength training now and again is, quite literally, good for your mind and body.
Strength training really isn’t all that appealing to many people. The truth is its potential benefits and the ability to pace it means that very few of us have a legitimate excuse for avoiding it. We can all complement the rest of our exercise routine with a little bi-weekly strength training. You may be surprised at how much it can help improve your health and quality of life.