The Importance of Strength Training
How does strength training fit into your healthy lifestyle? Even if your fitness goals mainly focus on cardiovascular health such as losing weight, lowering blood pressure or beating your last 10k time, strength training has a real place in your exercise program.
However, incorporating strength movements into your everyday workout routine can have many major benefits to your overall health and fitness, and help you achieve your goals quicker.
Do you have a body fat goal you’re working towards? Studies have shown that regular strength training can help decrease body fat percentage, and help increase work capacity and speed – meaning we can get more work done, quicker. More work equals more calories burned.
Are you an endurance athlete, chasing down a personal best time? Many endurance athletes, such a cyclists and distance runners, use compound strength movements like squats and deadlifts to increase their performance. Stronger muscles result in more work capacity and power output.
Strength training has also been linked to decreasing blood pressure and improving overall heart health by enhancing arterial function. Having great blood flow and low inflammation reduces the risk for cardiovascular diseases. Strength training can literally save lives!
Other aspects of our lives can majorly benefit from adopting a strength training routine, including improving sleep quality and reducing or curing chronic pain. Middle aged men who participated in recent sleep studies showed 5% increase in their sleep quality after adding in a strength training portion to their daily workout. We feel the obvious effects of getting enough quality sleep, but other long-term effects of better sleep include stronger repair of damaged body tissue, and balancing out inflammation in the body that leads to chronic pain.
Two well-known strength training exercises that can have a profound effect on our bodies are the squat and the deadlift. These are both movement patterns every healthy person should be able to do, and being complex as they are, we need to learn how to do them properly. Make sure to consult a fitness trainer before engaging in these movements if they are new to you!
Builds leg muscle strength and lean mass. Creates an anabolic environment that releases hormones for overall muscle growth in the body. The larger the muscular area when building lean mass, the more calories burned. Offers great benefits to joint and hip mobility and also leverages core stability.
Builds lower back, trapezius, lats, hamstring, and gluteal muscle strength. Improves your spine position and overall posture. It is a real life functional movement which should be used when carrying groceries, moving large objects, picking up boxes, etc. The deadlift helps to reduce injury in day-to-day activities.
Incorporating some amount of strength training into your exercise regime will only have beneficial effects when done appropriately. Figuring out the type and the volume of strength training that will best benefit your fitness goals requires a bit of homework – talk to your fitness coach – but the results can be very up-lifting!
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