You may have grown up thinking that cardio is the only way to lose weight or get fit. However, recent years of research have taught us better. We now know that everyone needs strength training and cardio as part of their workout to achieve their ultimate fitness goals.
While introducing strength training into your routine is important, you might wonder why you need to do it. Why can’t you just keep running, biking, and going to your aerobics classes and then call it good?
Let’s find out more about the advantages of strength training and why you need to include it as part of your workout to achieve more than you could with cardio alone.
Why Everyone Needs Strength Training
- Build and keep muscles mass and strength:
By using free weights, machines, resistance bands, and even your own body weight, you can build muscle mass. Then, when you continue to use ways to increase your muscle mass, you keep what you have gained and get stronger and stronger.
- Strong muscles equals strong bones
As we age, many of us tend to become more inactive and lack the nutrients we need each day. Little by little, a combination of poor nutrition, lack of fitness choices, and age reduces bone mass, leading to conditions like osteoporosis and eventually falls and bone fractures.
- Boost your metabolism
Did you know that the more muscle you have on your body, the better your metabolism is? Muscle burns calories, even when you’re not exercising. Get your metabolism moving with strength training!
- Change the way your body looks
Cardio is a fantastic way to strengthen your heart and burn calories, but if you want to change the way your body looks by toning up, strength training is the way to go. Firm up that tummy, and find definition in those shoulders and biceps. You will be amazed at how resistance training can improve the overall look of your body much better and faster than cardio ever could.
- Strengthen your body for all tasks
Strength training isn’t just about how much you can lift in the gym. Ultimately, it’s about making your body more robust so it performs better for whatever you throw at it.
Maybe it’s simply carrying your baby more easily or hitting the baseball harder and farther when you play with friends. Whatever it is, you’ll find that strengthening your muscles has many advantages in your everyday life. Is there really a downside here?
- Improve your balance
Improved balance can be an especially important benefit to older adults. With stronger muscles comes the ability to hold your body stable and upright, reducing the risk of falling.
Balance may not be a concern to you now but keeping up on strength training exercises as you get older can increase your coordination and balance, keeping you strong and healthy, living your best life.
- Weight control
The more muscle you have, the more calories your body burns all day long. Even blood sugar levels can be maintained better. Strength training can help make it easier for you to maintain a healthy weight in a lot of different ways.
- Joint flexibility
Keeping your body and joints flexible throughout your life, including your more mature years, can help you stay mobile as well as reduce the symptoms of arthritis. Plus, keeping your joints flexible can help you avoid injury during all stages of life.
- Improve heart health
Recent studies have taught us that strength training, performed regularly, can improve heart health by lowering blood pressure, decreasing total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol, and even strengthening blood vessels.
- Boost your mood and feel better overall
Regular exercise that includes strength training can improve your overall wellbeing. Improved mental health and reduced anxiety are huge benefits, aiding in your everyday functionality and mood.
Plus, who wouldn’t have increased confidence when you feel and look better overall? Those added feel-good endorphins you get from working out will put you in a good mood for sure!
- Improve your brain health and functionality
Can you believe that strength training even improves the way your brain functions? Studies have shown that those who regularly participate in strength training exercises show improvements in their cognitive function, including memory, and how quickly they process things compared to those who don’t do strength training workouts.
Tips for Adding Strength Training to Your Routine
- Begin small. To avoid injury, slowly introduce strength training into your routine. You can start by using just your body weight as resistance. Free weights, resistance bands, and weight machines can be added as you build strength and get stronger.
- Choose an appropriate amount of weight, especially to begin with. Be sure you can do 8-15 reps for 1-3 sets while still being able to keep proper form. If you can’t, you are using weights that are too heavy and need to scale down until you increase your strength.
- Don’t forget to breathe. You may find yourself holding your breath as you lift heavy weights but make a conscious effort not to. Instead, breathe out as you lift and breathe in as you relax and lower the weights.
- Take time to rest. Any good trainer will tell you that you need to let your muscles rest. Don’t work the same muscle groups two days in a row.
- Give it a try and see what strength training can do for you!
Need Help Adding Strength Training?
Fitness Nation can set you up for success if you are on a fitness journey to get stronger, lose weight or improve your overall health. While everyone needs strength training as part of their workout routine, not everyone knows the best ways to incorporate it. We have weights and other strength training machines as well as cardio equipment to reach all your goals, whatever they might be, and the know-how to help you get started. Join Fitness Nation today!