Friday, March 4, 2011

Improve Your Quality Of Life - The Many Health Benefits Of Strength Training

With all the information out there about the benefits of exercising, it always surprises me when someone tells me how they just heard/read that exercise can ___________ (fill in the blank). One of my boot campers recently recited a bunch of exercise benefits that she just learned while listening to NPR.

I was surprised that she was surprised.

I have to remind myself that not everyone is in this field so they wouldn't necessarily pay attention to that type of information and lots of people hate exercise so they probably tune it out even if they do come across it.

That being said, this is your health, well being and quality of life, people, so you should be paying more attention.

I've posted this before but it obviously merits another mention.

Besides improving body composition, lowering body fat and boosting metabolism, below are some of the many benefits of regular 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
* Muscle strength is significantly associated with lower cancer mortality (add in cardiovascular fitness and mortality drops even lower)
* 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.


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