It is no secret that strength training is an important part of achieving and maintaining good health. Look at all the research and articles that have been done over the last 25 years and you will see that strength training provides huge healthful benefits.
Though most people consider men to be stronger than women, men have greater absolute strength, which is the total force that can be generated by a specific muscle or muscle group. When it comes to relative strength, strength in relation to body weight, women are pretty much toe to toe with men.
How would one define strength training? When someone performs specific exercises using weights, resistance tubing or body weight to increase one’s overall strength and muscle mass.
The Benefits of Strength Training?
• Moderate to high intensity strength training performed two to three times a week for 3 – 6 months can improve muscular strength and endurance in all ages by 25 – 100%.
• Decreases percent body fat and increases fat-free mass.
• Intensive resistance training can significantly reduce total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and improve the ratio of total cholesterol to HDL cholesterol.
• In pre-menopausal women, strength training helps a woman achieve peak bone mass and may help in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis. In postmenopausal women, it helps slow and/or reverse age-related declines in Bone Mass Density.
• In older adults resistance training improves the ability to perform functional tasks, such as rising from a chair, climbing stairs, and carrying groceries, and prolongs one’s ability to live a physically independent lifestyle.
• Resistance training increases muscle mass which is important in maintaining a healthy weight. A pound of muscle burns 35-50 calories a day (a pound of fat only 2-4 calories a day). For every pound of muscle you gain your body burns 12,000-18,000 more calories a year, which translates to a 3-4 pound loss of weight. Even at rest your metabolic rate burns more calories.
• Strength training improves the body’s ability to breakdown and utilize blood glucose, which is important for diabetics and pre-diabetics.
• There are significant improvements in positive mood (vigor) and decrease in depression, tension and anxiety.
• For pregnant women, resistance training can shorten the active stage of labor, decrease labor pains, increase the recovery from labor, enhance maternal psychological well-being, and return a woman to pre-pregnancy weight sooner.
• A lot of women fear getting large bulky muscles. Increasing total muscle mass depends on circulating levels of testosterone. Since men have 20 to 30 times more testosterone levels than women, they tend to build bigger muscles. Keep in mind that individual differences and genetics play a role in the rate and degree with which muscle mass increases.
• You are never too old to strength train! Studies have shown up to 174% increase in strength in 90 year olds!!!
• Decreases joint pain. People with arthritis have shown decreases in joint pain by increasing the strength of the muscles that surround those joints.
If any of the above mentioned benefits sound good to you, then get to training!