Strength training has become a much more socially acceptable and heavily researched phenomenon in recent decades. As humans, we are not meant to be sedentary and our bodies crave movement! Luckily, we know there are endless positive benefits of strength training from adding years to your life to improving your mood on a daily basis. Keep reading for more reasons to pick up some heavy weight:
Increase fat loss. Lean muscle tissue is metabolically active and the more you have, the easier it is to lose weight and keep it off.
Improve aging. Muscle loss is attributed to brain degeneration and the more time we spend sitting the less our muscles contract and the less our brains receive signals from our muscle to help maintain cellular quality and function.
Improve posture. Practicing proper form with exercise translates into everyday life and you will find yourself standing taller and more aware of your posture.
Improve bone density. Just as muscles get stronger and become more dense through stress adaptations from strength training, so do bones! This significantly reduces the incidence of injury, fractures, or breaks.
Increase heart health and decreased risk of cardiovascular and lifestyle disease. Strength training increases blood flow through the body as well as decreasing blood pressure.
Improve balance and coordination. Body awareness improves significantly when stabilizer muscles are activated in strength training. Compound movements such as the bench press involve the pectoralis as the prime mover and the triceps and deltoids as stabilizers.
Improve mental strength. Strength training requires you to push yourself and teaches you perseverance and discipline. Being productive and working toward goals and self improvement not only makes you look better but also feel better!
Reduce stress and anxiety. Strength training helps regulate neurotransmitters like dopamine and seratonin in the brain which play a role in mood.
Even with all of the known health benefits, there are some misconceptions that deter some people from strength training. If this resonates with you, keep reading to gain further insight and clarification!
“I don’t want to get too bulky” Building muscle is a very slow process that doesn’t come easy. Being “bulky” is a look that often comes from having a lot of muscle as well as a decent amount of body fat. Being bulky (or toned) is highly dependent on your nutrition. To achieve a leaner look, paying attention to what and how much food you’re eating will be a key factor.
Additionally, not everyone finds a muscular build to be attractive, and that’s ok! But before you let this determine whether or not you strength train, consider how society and media shape this idea of what is attractive. Do what makes you look and feel good!
“I’m afraid of getting hurt” Realistically, the potential for injury at any time is immeasurable and the likelihood of tripping over a rock on the sidewalk is probably higher than injuring yourself in the gym, however, proper form and technique are going to significantly reduce your risk of injury. If you’re unsure, ask!
“I don’t want people watching me” Everyone is a beginner at some point. If you’re feeling nervous about stepping into the gym, that’s normal. Bring a friend or make friends with the staff! Most people are just focusing on what they’re doing and if anything, they might just be admiring your form and taking notes!
“I’m too busy” We all have busy work and social lives, but prioritizing your health will become a healthy habit with time. Who knows, maybe you’ll actually learn to love it! No one wants to feel weak, fragile, or incapable. Why wait to get stronger?
Remember this tip: Strength is Never a Weakness
Waiting to go to the gym until you’re in shape is like waiting to understand macroeconomics before taking a class. That’s where you go to learn. Strength training for as little as 20 minutes per day is much more beneficial than doing nothing. You don’t have to spend hours in the gym to reap the benefits!