In all my workouts -with classes, individual clients, or for myself – I include strength training. This doesn’t have to be Olympic bar chest presses, or squats to press with 99 decibel grunting…’Strength Training’ can include body weight squats, dumbbell curls, tricep dips, press ups..anything where you are working against resistance.
Here’s a few reasons why I love strength training, and why you should too:
Continuous calorie burn
Whereas you may default to an hour long session of cardio, sweating it out on the treadmill or elliptical, and this may burn upwards of 500kcal per hour, you post-workout calorie burn will be minimal. Strength training, however, continues to burn calories post workout long after your breathing and heart rate have returned to normal. The body uses more energy to maintain muscle than burn fat, and working those muscles can help boost your metabolism. Good news!
Repair and Maintenance of bone and muscle tissues
Your bone and muscle strength deteriorates over time, from approximately mid-twenties onwards. This can explain why we feel weaker and more tired as we age. Muscular Strength and Endurance training can help prevent bone density and muscle mass loss. Hand-in-hand with this comes improved balance and strength of connective tissues. This is turn can help prevent falls, fractures and ultimately help maintain independence and mobility.
It makes you stronger
As the name suggests, Strength Training makes you stronger. Whether you are Isometrically Contracting the muscle – against an unmoving object such as a bodyweight-squat – or Isotonically contracting – through a range of motion such as a bicep curl – you are working against a resisting force in a controlled manner, challenging the muscles beyond what you might encounter with every day movements. Which leads me nicely on to…
It improves your functional fitness
‘functional fitness’ refers to the fitness levels required to carry out every day tasks. Lifting children, pushing the lawnmower, even turning your head around to reverse the car…all require maintenance of strong healthy bones and muscles. Strength training improves and maintains muscle tone and the firing of the neurons to activate that muscle. We all want to be able to continue to do the things we enjoy, and those things which are necessary. Shoulder presses and core-strengthening can help with overhead actions such as placing things in high cupboards, squats and back strengthening can help with bending to pick things up, pushing heavy loads, walking up the stairs.
It makes you feel GOOD
strength training releases endorphins, the ‘feel good’ hormones. You feel exhilarated – seeing the results of your getting stronger, improving definition and muscle function. I love strength training as it means I am more able to do things – carry more shopping on my own, move furniture when we recently re-decorated and, yes – even open a difficult jar of jam. I also love seeing the aesthetic results. Cardio is no doubt good for the heart, and aerobic exercise good for the lungs, but team that with strength training and you have a winning combination for fat loss, strength gains and overall fitness and health.
If you have never strength-trained before, or are looking to increase your strength training repertoire, it is highly recommended that you do so under supervision. Working with weights or body weight requires correct technique to prevent injury and to get the maximum benefit. If you would like to see what YOU could gain from Strength Training, please contact me today and arrange your free Personal Training consultation.