By now, you probably know that strength training is a great way to build a fit and healthy body. But the truth is, it’s really more important than most people might think.
Strength training isn’t just for people who are in bodybuilding competitions, competitive athletes, or all the bros at the gym. It’s not something only vain people do.
Strength training is for EVERYONE and ANYONE wanting to age better, prevent injury, live longer and healthier lives, and feel their best.
Here are 5 important strength training benefits that are incredible!
5 Things Strength Training Helps You Build (Besides a Fit Body)
- Builds a Foundation for Better Aging
Unfortunately, we start to lose muscle around the very young age of 25. That’s why we also tend to get weaker (and flabbier) with age IF you don’t do anything to build and maintain lean muscle.
Less muscle also means less mobility. Less mobility increases your risk of injury and falling when you get older. A report from the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research found that individuals with sarcopenia (the scientific term for severe muscle loss) had 2.3 times the risk of having a fracture from falling.
Muscle also helps you look better as you age. It keeps you looking healthier, fitter, and less frail. I literally think of it as the fountain of youth!
The best way to build muscle and age with grace? You guessed it. Strength training and eating a diet with enough protein to help you build muscle and maintain that muscle.
2. Builds Strength & Prevents Injury
Strength training helps you learn how to move correctly. By learning movement patterns at the gym or at home with the squat, deadlift, pushing, pulling and everything in-between, you’re setting yourself up to move better in your day to day life.
You’re better able to carry in all the groceries in one try (because we all hate making multiple trips). You’re better able to pick up your crying toddler who’s kicking and screaming without throwing out your back. It helps you have better posture at work and school.
Strength training makes your muscles and joints stronger so you can do the things you love with less chance of injury. Even endurance athletes include strength training into their programming because they know it help them be better at their sports.
3. Builds Stronger Bones
Did you know that women are more likely to develop osteoporosis than men?
Did you know that strength training can help you build stronger, denser bones and can protect against osteoporosis?
Just like putting loads on and adding resistance to your muscles helps build them up, it has the same effect on bones.
Weak, thin bones are the LAST thing you want as an elderly adult, so do yourself a favor and make them stronger now!
4. Builds a Better Metabolism
Strength training helps you build and maintain lean muscle mass. Muscle requires more calories to maintain than fat so the more muscle you have the more calories you’ll burn at rest.
Strength training and muscle mass also aid in insulin sensitivity, meaning your body requires less insulin to keep blood sugar levels in normal ranges and store glucose for later use. It also means that you’re storing the carbohydrates you eat as fuel in your muscles (glycogen) rather than as fat.
We now know that insulin resistance and high blood sugar levels are linked to many health risks. According to Diabetes Self Management,
“Insulin resistance is associated with numerous health risks. For one thing, it causes hyperinsulinemia, or high circulating insulin levels, which may be directly damaging to blood vessels. Hyperinsulinemia is also associated with high blood pressure, heart disease and heart failure, obesity (particularly abdominal obesity), osteoporosis (thinning bones), and certain types of cancer, such as colon, breast, and prostate cancer. In contrast, having low circulating insulin levels is associated with greater longevity; most centenarians without diabetes have low circulating insulin levels.”
Research suggests that increasing muscle mass is associated with higher protection from insulin resistance and diabetes. Just one more reason to pick up those weights!
Maybe even more fascinating, muscle acts as a safety net for those who are recovering from disease. When you are recovering from illness or injury, your body actually requires more protein than normal to recover and to keep your other organs functioning properly. If you’re not getting it from your diet (which can be difficult in our society) your body will break down your muscle to get the protein that it needs to survive.
Paleo Leap explains this perfectly:
“For example, muscle mass is an independent predictor of survival rates for patients with all kinds of cancers, even after accounting for sex, age, and stage of cancer. Compared to patients with normal muscle mass, patients with sarcopenia find chemotherapy harder to endure.”
Gives you a whole new perspective on building muscle doesn’t it?
5. Builds Mental Strength and Confidence
Showing up to strength train and workout day after day isn’t easy. Far from it! But by doing something difficult you’re not only building physical strength but mental strength as well.
Strength training helps you overcome mental barriers, builds confidence, and helps you see how much potential and strength you already have. Not to mention, it helps boost endorphins and can help keep your mood stable.
How Do I Start?
You don’t have to be an expert to start a strength training program. You also don’t need a ton of equipment. In fact, if you are new to strength training, I’d suggest starting out with just bodyweight moves until you get more comfortable and perfect certain movements. As you get stronger, don’t be afraid to try heavier weights!
You can start off in the comfort of your home, or join a gym (normal gym, CrossFit, group training) the choice is up to you!
You can check out my Instagram for a variety of strength training workouts you can do at home or at the gym!