The general opinion when the general public here the word ?weight training? is of oiled up, macho, muscular men flexing and showing off there muscles. This view often shies a lot of people away from lifting weights?.especially women.
However, some form of strength training can benefit anyone male or female at any age. It provides amazing health benefits that cannot be ignored. They are?
1. INCREASE METABOLISM/MUSCLE MASS
Strength training builds muscle. I know that?s probably the most obvious benefit, but it is extremely important. As we age, we lose approximately a pound of muscle every year after the age of twenty. Even people who exercise regularly, but neglect strength training will still lose ? a pound of muscle a year. This will cause us to get weak and make us more vulnerable to fat gain as we get older because the metabolism is slowing down. You may notice people who eat whatever they want and not gain anything, but as they approach 30-40 their metabolism has slowed and they are starting to gain weight. Strength training is the only way to maintain or add muscle mass as we age, keeping our metabolism running high.
2. IMPROVE BONE MINERAL DENSITY
Not only does strength training stimulate muscle growth; it also stimulates the growth of bone tissue. The stress of strength training on the bones stimulates the bones to lay down more minerals, improving bone mineral density. Similar to muscle mass, bone mineral density is at its peak at around the age of twenty and from there is on a gradual decline for the rest of our lives. This makes us susceptible to injuries and diseases such as osteoporosis as we age. Strength training can help prevent or even reverse these conditions. This is one of the main reasons why women should do some form of strength training, as 1 in 2 women or there about now develop osteoporosis.
3. IMPROVE JOINT STRENGTH AND STABILITY
Increasing the strength of muscles, also greatly enhances the strength and stability of the joints these muscles surround. This is extremely beneficial to prevent injuries as we get older.
4. DECREASE ATHRITIS
Strength training improves our bodies control of our joints, which decreases the stress put on them in day to day activities. This helps reduce the chance of our joints degenerating. Therefore strength training can help prevent or reduce the severity of arthritis, and recent studies are showing it can help reduce the symptoms.
5. IMPROVE VITALITY AND QUALITY OF LIFE
The condition of our muscles is responsible for our ability to perform everyday activities. Muscles are like an engine, if they are well looked after, you can drive it regularly without fear of it breaking down. Strength training keeps our muscles in top condition, making daily activities much easier and enables us to participate in more vigorous activities without fear of injuries or lack of energy.
6. INCREASE FAT LOSS
Muscle is metabolically active, meaning it burns calories. Every extra pound of muscle we add burns approximately an extra 50-100 calories a day. Therefore, the more muscle we have the more calories we burn while we are sleeping, doing daily activities and through exercise. For example, the metabolism can be like a car, the more muscle you have, the larger the engine and the more calories you burn, much like the way a V8 chews through fuel. If we neglect strength training, our metabolism might be closer to that of a scooter or a lawn mower!
7. DECREASE CHANCE OF DEVELOPING DIABETES
The increase of muscle mass, due to strength training increases the use of blood sugars into the muscles, helping reduce the chance of developing diabetes. Also increasing our metabolism through strength training helps prevent fat gain, which is closely related to the development of late onset diabetes.
8. IMPROVE SPORTING PERFORMANCE
This is pretty obvious but a strong athlete is a great athlete. All forms of power, speed and explosiveness come from having a good base of strength. For instance take 2 guys who weigh the same and they perform the Bench Press. Lets say Person A can bench 400lbs and Person B can bench only 200lbs. Who do you think could bench throw 100lbs the highest? Person A you would assume could throw it higher because 100lbs is only 25% of his max Where as Person B would be trying to throw 50% of his max.
9. DECREASE BLOOD PRESSURE
Recent studies have shown that strength training can help reduce blood pressure. Therefore there is a less chance of developing heart disease. If our muscles are stronger, this places less stress on our cardiovascular system while performing day to day activities.
For all you women out there don?t be scared to lift weights, its good for you. You do not have the hormones men do to build large, bulky muscles, so don?t be shy. You will only be able to replace the muscle you had lost through the aging process and at most maybe gain a few more pounds, but that is it. Those pictures you see of women looking like men with massive muscles are due to them injecting male hormones in them, so trust me it won?t happen to you.
So as you can see some form of strength training should be performed by everyone. Men, women, children and the elderly can all benefit from strength training. Most importantly, it prevents our body from deteriorating enabling us to live and enjoy more of life as we age. Strength training really is anti-aging.