Crossroads Fitness Blog
Strength training comes with strong benefits
We all want a high quality of life and independent living. Consistent strength training offers a path to that goal.
Did you know adults lose 5 to 7 pounds of muscle mass every decade after age 20? Strength training is important for everyone at every age. For most of us, it’s about creating muscle that not only helps us look better, but also provides life-changing benefits.
Let’s back up a bit and review some anatomy. There are more than 600 muscles in the human body. These muscles do everything from pump blood to kick soccer balls. They’re a type of elastic tissue that resembles a rubber band and are made up of thousands of small fibers. There are different kinds of muscles, but we’ll concentrate on skeletal muscles. These are the muscles that work with bones to give you motion and power.
There are some amazing benefits to lifting weights. There’s a direct link between strength training and weight control and loss. When you increase muscle mass, your metabolic rate increases. Even after lifting weights, your muscles keep working and burn more calories. Other health benefits include an increase in bone density that decreases the risk of osteoporosis, lower blood pressure and slower aging.
Not only does strength training help tone muscles to provide a fitter, healthy looking body, it also improves posture. Everyday activities become easier through increased balance, coordination and stability. When you think about getting in and out of a car, reaching for an item on the top shelf of a grocery aisle or pushing a lawnmower, all these tasks depend on a strong muscular system.
Strength training can be performed in a variety of ways. Examples include circuit machines, free weights, functional fitness, resistance bands and strength classes.
Circuit machines enable you to work different muscle groups, adjusting the machines and weight to fit your body and strength level. It could be helpful to work with a trainer to make sure you use the proper form and appropriate weight.
Free weights are just that — individual hand weights or weight bars you can lift in a number of ways.You could use hand weights for bicep curls or shoulder presses.
Functional fitness involves training that mimics everyday movements using different types of equipment or body weight for resistance.
Resistance bands engage your muscles in both directions — the pull and release. The amount of resistance varies with the type of band and how it’s used.
Structured fitness classes — including Bodypump, Pilates and Yoga — engage and strengthen your muscles.
Consistency is the most important aspect of strength training. Aim for two to three times a week, resting for 48 hours between workouts to allow your muscles to heal. Include upper body, lower body and core exercises to work your entire body.
Remember to always check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program.
We all strive to achieve quality of life. It’s never too late to begin strength training. Every one of us at any age needs to work on increasing muscle mass and bone density. Strength training offers many benefits in promoting a healthy and independent lifestyle.