Is strength training good for you - or not? Do you know the ins and outs of this type of workout?
There are hundreds of books, articles and websites dedicated to building muscle published every month, but many people still question whether strength training is actually good for them.
Much of the concern comes from the extremes to which some bodybuilders take their physiques, using steroids to build excessive amount of muscle. However, for anyone not using steroids, and not working out two to three hours per day, there are a number of compelling reasons to include strength training in their regular workouts.
Some of the many benefits of building muscle include:
- Increased Functional Strength, Power, and Endurance:
Functional strength refers to the everyday strength that helps you get through the day - getting up and down stairs, carrying kids or groceries. Anyone can benefit from being stronger, and people of all ages can take advantage of this - even 80 year olds can get significantly stronger with appropriate training.
- Injury Prevention:
Strong muscles play a key role in preventing both sports-related and life-related injuries.
- Improved Balance, Flexibility, and Stability:
Strengthening your muscles will help to improve your balance, which means fewer falls or accidents.
- Increased Metabolic Rate:
Strength training ramps up the metabolic rate for several hours, meaning that you burn more calories. In addition, because muscle needs calories to fuel it, every pound of muscle you add burns about 35 calories per day. So an extra five pounds of muscle can easily burn an extra 150 calories per day!
- Increasing and Restoring Bone Density:
With osteoporosis becoming more and more of a problem, it's worth knowing that consistent strength training can increase bone density and prevent loss of bone density and brittleness.
- Decreased Risk of Coronary Disease:
Research shows that people who regularly perform resistance training demonstrate a variety of health benefits including decreased cholesterol and lower blood pressure.
- Injury Rehabilitation and Recovery:
Most injuries respond well to strength training, with the recovery of and increase in muscle strength often the best way to prevent reoccurrence of injures.
- Enhanced Sports Performance:
Athletes of all types now understand that increased strength can help their performance. This is true not just for power and strength athletes like rugby players, but even endurance athletes like marathon runners and sportsmen like tennis players.
- Slowing the Signs of Aging:
People who perform strength training on a regular basis age gracefully. They look better, feel better, are able to do more, and get injured less.
- Feeling Better and Looking Better:
Finally, as suggested above, people who strength train regularly look and feel better. They have leaner bodies, better posture, and move with more power and grace. In addition, those with leaner, more toned muscles feel better about their appearance, and have higher self-esteem and self-confidence.
With all these benefits, the only question is why anyone wouldn't include strength training in their schedule?