Strength training is an essential component of a balanced workout. I notice that it gets overlooked sometimes because cardiovascular training often hogs the spotlight. When I see my students and clients only focused on cardiovascular training, I remind them that they need to find a balance.
There are so many great benefits of strength training for our physical and mental health! Here are some compelling reasons to make weight training a part of your workout routine if you have been skipping out lately.
Build and Strengthen Your Muscles!
I know this is obvious. I will explain more about why this is so important. Building muscle can help you control your weight. The more muscle in your body, the more efficiently you will burn calories. This means that even when you are not working out, you are a more efficient calorie-burning machine! We all also have to factor in that as we age we have the tendency to lose muscle mass. Strength training will help you preserve and build muscle mass.
Strengthen Your Bones!
The American Council on Exercise points out that in addition to toning muscles, strength training increases the strength of bones. As we age, maintaining bone density can help prevent injury. Also, having stronger bones will decrease your risk for osteoporosis. If you think you are too young to worry about brittle bones, think again. Don't wait until you've lost bone density to begin weight training, start now!
Happy and Healthy State of Mind
According to the Growing Strong program, hosted by Tufts University, one of the many benefits of strength training is that it helps participants to have a "healthy state of mind". The program states that, "strength training provides similar improvements in depression as anti-depressant medications." This is powerful, because there is an option to help treat depression that doesn't involve the side effects of a prescription drug. There is no definitive answer for why strength training produces this effect. It may be that there is an actual change in brain chemistry as a result of the strength training. It may also be that feeling stronger greatly impacts self-esteem, and perhaps that is the reason for the mood improvement. So while the exact reason is not known, it is safe to say that the key to lifting your spirits is to lift some weights!
If strength training is already part of your weekly routine, keep up the good work! If you have been missing out on weight training, I hope one or all of these reasons motivate you to change up your workout regimen. Here's to our healthy muscles, bones, and brains!
Be happy, healthy and energized!