Friday, January 4, 2008

Why You Need To Strength Train

It happened again!

Even though Body & Soul is a women's fitness center, I do also train men; often those whose wives or significant others are members or clients.

Last night, two members and I were discussing how one of their husbands had recently met with me to learn a strength training program he could do at home. I asked the other member if her husband did any weight training and she replied that he didn't need to because "he has two hollow legs".


That's the sound of my head exploding. Just kidding...sort of.

It is so frustrating to me that with all the information out there about the benefits of regular exercise that even intelligent, educated, regular gym-goers often view it almost exclusively as a weight management tool.

Yes, the majority of Americans are overweight. Yes, regular exercise along with healthy nutrition, will help people shed pounds but that is not the only reason to lift weights.

I'm all in favor of people dumping excess body fat but the physical, mental and emotional benefits of regular physical activity absolutely dwarf the weight control aspect. Studies have shown that inactive people of appropriate weight are at higher risk for many diseases than active people who are overweight. Just because someone is thin doesn't mean they're healthy and fit.

Besides improving body composition, lowering body fat and boosting metabolism, below are some of the many benefits of strength training:

* Increases bone density (helps prevent osteoporosis)
* Lowers blood pressure
* Improves glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity (reducing your risk for type 2 diabetes)
* Elevates mood (reducing the risk of depression)
* Increases muscle strength (without resistance training, adults lose about one-half pound of muscle per year)
* Reduces gastrointestinal transit time (helps you be more regular)
* Improves joint health (reducing arthritis pain and stiffness)
* Boosts your immune system (you'll get sick less often)
* Increases your blood level of HDL (good) cholesterol
* Improves sleep quality
* Lowers your resting heart rate (your heart doesn't have to work as hard)
* Improves flexibility
* Increases tendon and ligament strength
* Improves posture
* Decreases your risk of injury
* Improves self-esteem, confidence and self-worth
* Increases energy
* Maintains or improves lower back strength
* Improves balance, mobility and stability (which helps prevent falls)
* Maintains or improves mental sharpness (helps prevent Alzheimer’s and dementia)

The bottom line is that strength training improves your quality of life. It reduces the risk of injury and assorted diseases. Stronger muscles make everyday chores easier and help you maintain your independence as you age.

So, if you don't already, start lifting weights. You'll feel better, you'll look better and you'll be healthier, whether or not you need to shed any weight.


Madam Z said...

Hey Micky,

I LOVE your list of "the many benefits of strength training." It is very motivational.

P.S. I didn't know you had a blog! Does this mean you won't be doing the regular monthly newsletter?


Mickey said...

Hi Zelda,

Thanks for checking out the blog. You are the first person to leave a comment. Yea!

You must not read my member e-mails very closely because I've mentioned the blog before. :-)

As of now, I am planning on continuing the hard copy newsleters- some, maybe most, of that info will end up here too.