Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Importance Of Strength Training

With 2/3 of Americans officially categorized as overweight or obese, it's important for people to drop excess body fat and get more fit. Obviously, I would encourage anyone who is over fat to exercise. However, I'm concerned that too many people focus on regular physical activity solely as a way to manage their weight.

That's a big mistake. Studies have shown that inactive people of appropriate weight are at higher risk for disease than active people who are overweight. I wish people would realize that just being thin does not mean someone is healthy and fit.

Another issue is that so many people are still under the false impression that cardiovascular exercise is the key to weight loss but that's a topic for another day. Today I want to focus on the physical, mental and emotional benefits of strength training.
Besides the weight management benefits of strength training (improving body composition, lowering body fat and boosting metabolism), below are some of the many other health benefits:

* 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)

95-year old Body & Soul member

Regular strength training will improve the quality of your life. Stronger muscles make everyday chores easier and help you maintain your independence as you age. It reduces the risk of injury and assorted diseases.

So, if you don't already, start lifting weights. If you're a novice, get someone knowledgeable to set you up on a routine and to show you correct form.  You'll feel better, you'll look better and you'll be healthier, whether or not you need to shed any weight.



Kelly said...

Are yoga classes part of the membership or do you offer that as a separate class?

kelly (at) mysimplewalk (dot) com

Mickey said...

Hi Kelly,

Yoga is not part of the gym membership. Right now, there is a 1:00 PM class on Tuesdays with Susan Atkins, who rents space at Body & Soul.