Everyone knows exercise is good for your health. But most of us ignore a crucial component of it—strength training. Research suggests 60 percent of adults don’t strength train and only 6 percent strength train at least twice per week. Neglecting strength training could wreak havoc on your health, resulting in decreased metabolism, increased body fat and a higher risk of developing chronic diseases and disabilities.
The good news is, you don’t have to lift like a bodybuilder to benefit from strength training. Here are 3 clear reasons why you should strength train to improve your long-term health.
#1 Strength Training Slows Down the Aging Process
As we continue to age, our muscles slowly start to deteriorate. By the time we reach 40, we lose up to 8 percent of our overall muscle mass per decade. The loss of muscle is linked to diseases, disabilities and even premature death, not to mention the detrimental consequences it has on your bones.
As you continue to lose muscle, a process called sarcopenia (brittle bones) weakens your muscles, ligaments, tendons, tissues and bones. Because your muscles and bones are inextricably linked, you’re at great risk for the following:
Chronic back pain
Don’t just accept that you’re going to lose muscle as you age! Do something about it. Several studies suggest that you can actually slow down the process by years or even decades by incorporating a regular strength training program. So, if you’ve been searching for the fountain of youth, strength training is your answer.
#2 Strength Training is Linked to Living Longer
Research claims low muscle mass is linked to high mortality rates, making it a stronger predictor of premature death than obesity. Being physically active and having good muscle strength, especially in middle age, is the strongest predictor for a longer life.
Not only does strength training improve your cardiovascular health, it increases blood flow to your muscles, which lowers your blood pressure. But that’s not all. Strength training also lowers your risk of cancer, improves your heart function and acts as a coat of armor against diabetes. And it’s never too late to get started!
#3 Strength Training Builds Muscle and Sheds Fat
As if losing muscle isn’t bad enough, we also increase in body weight and fat as we age. The average person gains a pound of fat per year after turning 40, causing our metabolic rate to get slower and slower.
But don’t panic. Adding a 20-30 minute strength training program to your schedule at least 2-3 times per week will counteract muscle and bone loss. According to research, strength training burns more fat and increases muscle mass more than aerobic exercise.
Most people think they need fancy equipment to start a strength training program. What they fail to realize is that you can gain strength and build lean muscle by using your own body weight (or with minimal equipment). So, ditch the treadmill and grab your dumbbells, resistance bands or use your own body weight to gain strength and build lean muscle without breaking the bank.
Don’t know where to start? Gymondo offers a wide variety of fitness programs perfect for your goals. Whether you want to lose weight, gain strength, get toned or increase your flexibility, you’ll find customized programs for you and your fitness level.