I know, cardio might be your jam at the gym and you find yourself searching out power yoga classes to get your heart rate up, but if you’re solely focusing on cardio when you work out then you may be, ahem, just spinning your wheels.
Study after study shows that strength training is where it’s at, so to help convince you, I mean help you have all the information you need to see just how much you need to pick up those weights, I’ve put together a quick list.
If you don’t already incorporate even some light weights into your week, you’ll be on Amazon ordering a set by the time you’re done reading. : )
1. Strength Training Makes You Stronger Than Eating Your Wheaties
When you incorporate strength training into your exercise routine, you not only burn calories but increase lean muscle mass, which stimulates your metabolism. The more muscle you have, the more calories you’re going to burn during the day. Plus, in 2014 Harvard researchers published a study that followed 10,500 men over the course of 12 years and found that strength training is more effective at preventing increases in abdominal fat than cardiovascular exercise. BOO-YA!
2. Keep the Weight off for Good and Increases Body Image
Your favorite SoulCycle and Mile High Run Club classes are a great way to help burn more calories, but strength training helps too. It’s a boost for weight loss because the muscle you build will increase your resting metabolism, which is the rate at which your body burns calories during the day, not exercising. Yes, the more muscle you have the more calories you’ll burn sitting on the couch during your Netflix binges!
Lose 8 pounds more?! Yes, according to a study published in the journal Obesity in 2017. Compared with dieters who didn’t exercise, those who did strength training exercises four times a week for 18 months lost about 18 pounds, compared with 10 pounds for non-exercisers.
Yes, strength training will get your body tight, but research has also shown that consistent strength training improves body image and perceived physical appearance – no matter what the mirror shows. Just the physical act of working up a sweat will make you love yourself all over again.
3. Boost Your Brain Health
Strength training can improve your brain power over a lifetime, but the effects prove to be the strongest in older adults suffering from cognitive decline. In one 2016 study in the Journal of American Geriatrics, when men and women ages 55 through 86 with mild impairment performed twice-weekly weight training for six months, they significantly improved their scores on cognitive tests. However, when participants spent their workouts stretching, their cognitive test scores declined.
Want to keep it together way into your 80s? Get on the strength training bandwagon.
4. Strengthen Your Mental Health
You’ve heard all about the runner’s high, yes?
Strength training boosts your energy levels and improves your mood by elevating your endorphins but also because it may help you sleep better so you’re not a big, foggy, cranky pants all day.
And that’s not all, strength training also decreases symptoms of depression and anxiety. Those smarty docs from Harvard Medical School found that strength training provides an opportunity to overcome obstacles in a controlled, predictable environment, increasing mental resiliency.
Hello mental toughness!
5. Want to Live Longer? Pick up Those Weights
Yes, one of the many benefits of strength training includes a longer life. A 2015 study in The Lancet found that grip strength accurately predicts death from any cause and, according to a 2017 Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care study, compared to body mass index or BMI, lean muscle mass better measures a person’s overall health.
So you can go eat that extra cookie as long as you have a super strong handshake, great news!
6. Keep Your Bones From Breaking
We start losing as much as 3 to 5 percent of lean muscle mass per year after we turn 30, but don’t cry yet.
The Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, published a study in October 2017 that showed just 30 minutes twice a week of high-intensity resistance and impact training was shown to improve functional performance, as well as bone density, structure, and strength in postmenopausal women with low bone mass. The best news? It had no negative effects.
Every time a muscle contracts, it pulls on the bones it’s attached to, which stimulates the cells within the bone to produce structural proteins and move minerals into the bone, and just a few sessions a week, with lights weights, is all it takes.
7. It’s Free Insurance From Falling and Prevents Injuries
Having a good muscle base is important for all movement, balance, coordination and injury prevention, so building the muscles that keep you upright will help you from falling as you age. One study showed that in older adults who are at a higher risk of falling because of worse physical functioning, strength training reduced their risk of falling by 40 percent compared with those who didn’t do strength-training exercises.
And you know what happens when you go into the hospital as an older adult because of a fall? You don’t want to know….
8. Increase Your Flexibility and Mobility
Results from a 2017 study in the Journal of Exercise Science show that strength training improves flexibility in both men and women. Touching your toes is nice, but even more important to overall function in everyday life is mobility, like being able to balance while reaching to grab your secret stash of dark chocolate out of the back of the top cabinet. By taking your joints through their full range of motion during strength exercises, you can increase that range of motion over time, and therefore eat more chocolate. : )
9. Manage Your Chronic Disease
Not to sound like one of those horribly hilarious drug ads, but if you’re suffering from…
Arthritis, type 2 diabetes or cardiovascular disease, you can be helped by a healthy prescription for strength training.
Studies have shown that strength training helps control blood sugar, which helps prevent diabetes and maintaining muscle strength surrounding arthritic joints helps reduce stiffness and pain in those suffering from arthritis. Strength training also helps to keep cardiovascular disease and even cancer at bay by melting away visceral fat and fat that builds up around the organs.
Did you know that according to 2017 research published in Therapeutic Advances in Medical Oncology, muscle mass is a strong predictor of cancer treatment outcomes?
Don’t be a chronic disease statistic, get lifting!
As if all of those reasons weren’t enough to get on the strength training bandwagon, I will not fail to mention that it will help you get back into your favorite jeans much quicker that restricting yourself to a liquid diet or getting stuck on the hamster wheel, err treadmill.
And a whole lotta more fun!
Don’t want to go to the gym and stare at yourself in the mirror while lifting weights? That’s why I make all those Xen Strength Yoga with Weights videos for you. : )
NEED TO JUMP BACK ON THE WELLNESS BANDWAGON?
Press refresh with my 1-Day Reset to detox your body and mind. FREE Yoga, Mediation and clean eating guide!