If your are sticking to healthy weeknight meals, hitting up some regular walking, and yet your are not seeing the results you thought you would - there could be something critical missing. And that something is strength training.
Strength training isn't just for gym rats and Schwarzenegger-wannabes. Regular weight/strength training can benefit just about everyone in a myriad of ways. We're talking better sleep, less stress, and more energy. Read on for the top reasons that lifting weights goes way beyond being buff.
1. Speed up your metabolism. After a few dates with a strength workout, you will notice an increasing metabolic rate. And with the right eating plan, strength training will help you lose weight more effectively than cardio alone.
2. Build muscle. Whether the goal is strength gains or fat loss, strength training will deliver optimal results. And, as you get older, strength training can help combat the natural decline in muscle and bone density.
3. Prevent Injury. Lifting weights is key to staying injury free. Stronger muscles also mean stronger tendons, ligaments, and bones. One slip on the ice and you will appreciate your new found strength. Strong muscles act as armor and protect and diminish many possible injuries.
4. Increase flexibility. Over time, strength training will help improve flexibility. In one study of sedentary women, moderate strength training did just that - no down dog required.
5. Get stronger bones. Strength training is just the fix needed to prevent and reverse osteoporosis. Lifting weights will strengthen bones and lower the risk of fractures.
6. Jump-start power. Athletes, eager to sprint faster or jump higher? Regular strength workouts can work fast-twitch muscles, the speedy muscle fibers responsible for generating power. The result: you will see gains the next time you play a game of basketball or tennis.
7. See results - fast. Regular progressive strength workouts will yield results quickly. Several studies have shown significant blood-work improvements after just 2 months of workouts. You will also feel different throughout your day as you get stronger.
8. Get strong anywhere. You don't have to be a member of a health club to strength train. Effective workouts can be accomplished at home and even with just body weight.
9. Boost IQ. Strength training will help keep your brain healthy, and researchers found that resistance training resulted in beneficial cognitive function in older adults. More work is being done regarding delaying dementia.
10. Boost productivity. Recent work has shown 20% overall improvement in sleep, decision making, stress, etc.
11. Beat stress. Research has shown resistance training will release feel good endorphins to help keep anxiety at bay and will help fight depression.
12. Boost self esteem. Lifting weights will improve a person's perceived body image. You really don't need a study to back this up, since it just feels awesome to be stronger and see gains from week to week.
13. Protect the heart. A strength training program also protects the heart. Stronger muscles mead less overall work for the heart since all activities are easier.
14. Build endurance. Again....stronger muscles mean everything we do in the course of the day is easier. Overall you will have more reserve strength left over at the end of the day or you will be able to do said tasks much longer before you fatigue.
15. Sleep better. More research mounts to show that lifting weights regularly will help you get a better night's sleep. Sleep like a baby and wake up ready to go.
16. Manage arthritis. Regular workouts will reduce and manage overall arthritis pain. Like a rusty bolt, if you don't move those joints, they will get worse and tighten up.