We all know that exercise is good for us. As stated by Dr. Timothy Church, director of preventive medicine research at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center:
“Exercise strengthens the entire human machine — the heart, the brain, the blood vessels, the bones, the muscles. The most important thing you can do for your long-term health is lead an active life.”
Unfortunately, many make the mistake of focusing on cardiovascular exercise to the exclusion of strength training, while, the truth is that, nearly everyone will benefit more from strength training.
Here are 7 reasons to start strength training today!
More Effective Fat Loss
The key to fat loss is something called exercise afterburn, the calories expended after you stop exercising. Exercise scientists refer to the afterburn as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC). After strength training you continue to burn extra calories in the hours and days following the exercise. It also increases your resting metabolism (how fast your body burns calories while resting) so you’ll burn even more calories during and after your workout than you would with any type of aerobic exercise!
Countless people have experienced positive changes in confidence and determination from progressive strength training. It gives you the confidence to try new things that you would not have considered in the past. Recent studies have found that people who participate in strength training experience significantly greater self-esteem and perceived strength than those participating in a cardiovascular routine.
Recent studies have found a direct relationship between sleep quality and strength training. Additionally, strength training can help you fall asleep faster and sleep more deeply, which, in turn, promotes muscle growth! In one study, researchers found that lifting weights helped participants fall asleep up to 45 minutes faster than they would have if they had not worked out.
More Brain Power
Strength training can also improve cognitive function. One study demonstrated that it can boost memory in older adults and MRI scans showed that certain areas of the brain increased in size among the participants.
Strength training lowers waist circumferences, triglycerides, blood pressure, and glucose levels, all risk factors associated with heart disease. A recent study also found that individuals who participated in strength training had significantly lower resting heart rates, putting them less at risk for heart disease.
Strength training is a great way to resist loss of bone mass and decrease your risk of osteoporosis. Participating in progressive training protects your bones and helps them stay strong as you age. One study found that just 30 minutes, twice a week, of strength training improved bone density, structure and strength in women with low bone mass.
Strength training elevates your endorphin levels in the brain, which can boost your energy and even improve mood. A recent study found that a continuous increase in energy expenditure, even after a short strength training session, can improve your energy balance.