It is a misconception that in order to lose fat, one must only do high amounts of cardio. In fact, whether your goal is to lose fat or gain muscle, both of these goals can be reached faster if you include strength training in your workout regime. Strength training has a number of benefits ranging from having a healthy heart to strengthening your bones, to even having good balance. In this article, we are going to go over the 5 most important benefits of including strength training in your workout program.
1. Healthy Cardiovascular Health
Visceral fat, also known as Abdominal Fat is situated in and around some of our vital organs such as the heart. Strength training can help with losing some of this excessive abdominal fat and contribute towards having a healthier heart. In fact, there have been numerous studies conducted over the past many years that show a direct correlation between a healthy heart and regular strength training. Strength training similar to cardiovascular exercise helps immensely in improving blood pressure.
2. Improves and Protects Bone Health and Muscle Mass
As we grow older, especially beyond the age of 30, we start losing 3-5 percent of lean muscle mass due to aging. According to a study conducted by the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research even as little as two 30-minute sessions of strength training a week has helped in improving functional performance as well as bone density and strength. Hence, strength training does not just help with putting on muscle mass but also with bone and joint health.
3. Helps with weight-loss
While it is extremely popular for people to do cardiovascular exercises as one of the most basic solutions to lose weight, the real winners are those who combine cardiovascular exercises with strength training. A study conducted over a span of 18 weeks compared dieters who didn’t exercise, dieters who did only aerobic exercises, and dieters who did strength training. Out of the three categories, the dieters who did strength training lost the most amount of weight. The reason for this is because strength training increases your resting metabolism and burns calories even when you are not exercising.
4. Reduces the risk of injuries
Strength training when done under proper guidance, helps build muscle, and a good muscle base is important for balance, coordination, movement, and prevention of injury. If a muscle is too weak, it puts more pressure on its connecting tendon and increases the chances of injury. Strength training increases both the number as well as the thickness of collagen fibrils in tendons in order to increase their overall strength and prevent injury.
5. Boosts self-image and confidence
Strength training is known for its positive effects on one’s body composition and physique but what we forget to talk about is how impactful it is mentally. Anyone who has ever hit a PR knows how it is accompanied by a feeling of accomplishment. This feeling helps boost your overall body image. A study even shows that consistent strength training not only improves body image but also the perceived physical appearance regardless of what the actual aesthetic results are.
To summarize, strength training is not just something that bodybuilders do inside a gym. Strength training means simply adding some external resistance to a movement in order to activate your muscles. It could include external weights such as dumbbells or even your own bodyweight. We highly recommend adding strength training to your routine, regardless of your age or sex as it will not only help you with overall fitness but also specific issues such as arthritis, obesity, and heart conditions.