Why Strength Train? A manifesto...
“Muscle is metabolically active tissue that is highly responsive to the stimuli of progressive resistance exercise. With appropriate training, muscles grow and become stronger; without appropriate training, muscles diminish and become weaker.” –American Council on Exercise I have so many people that ask me about how to lose weight. And even though my message is about loving yourself and embracing yourself wherever you are on your wellness journey, I get it. I think you can love yourself and still want to be healthier and want to make changes.
The problem is there’s a lot of shaming stuff out there. Stuff that makes you feel less than. Especially about nutrition. I’m not going to talk about that today. But I will say this – if you can just be as consistent as possible with eating really good, really whole food in healthy amounts. That would probably be all you'd need to get you where you want to be. In addition, if you are eating when you aren’t hungry, start journaling and figure out what emotions trigger you to use food for comfort. Then, you can start really giving yourself what you need emotionally instead of turning to food…which doesn’t really comfort you. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND “Women, Food and God” by Geneen Roth. Or, check out her website at www.geneenroth.com.
Ok I digress. So after the food thing can get looked at with some tenderness and care, the next thing is STRENGTH TRAINING. Yeppers – it’s time to GET STRONG.
And here’s why – (thank you American Council on Exercise for giving me some fantastic words around all of this) READ THE WHOLE LIST…IT WILL BLOW YOUR EVER-LOVIN’ MIND.
*Feeling STRONG. Important…no?
*A decrease in depression.
*Improved tensile strength in tendons and ligaments.
Improved bone mineral density which may reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
*Injury prevention. – Muscles serve as shock absorbers and balancing agents. Balanced muscle development reduces the risk of overuse injuries that result when one muscle group is strong and the opposing muscle group is weak.
*Raised resting metabolic rate. Even during sleep, resting skeletal muscles are responsible for more than 25% of the body’s calorie use. More muscle = higher metabolic rate. In a matter of WEEKS you can improve your resting metabolic rate.
*Improves metabolism. - After a hard workout – you can raise your metabolic rate by 7-8% for 3 DAYS.
*Results in more calories burned on a daily basis.
*Raised lean muscle mass looks pretty good on a body – enhanced self confidence.
*Improved body composition, which reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
*Lowers resting blood pressure.
*Improves blood lipid profiles.
*Facilitates movement of food and waste through gastrointestinal system. Four months of basic resistance exercise increases GI transit speed by 56% in older men!! Why is this important? May reduce risk of colon cancer!!
*Stronger muscles = reduction or disappearance in low back pain.
*Reduced pain of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
*Improved functional ability in older adults – Also in one study, older adults who performed 6 months of circuit training experienced positive adaptations in 179 GENES associated with age and exercise, giving their muscles mitochondrial characteristics similar to those of young adults.
Taken together…these benefits enhance the quality of life and lower the risk of premature all-cause mortality.
Now…let’s talk about aging.
Age alert…Physical capacity decreases dramatically with age in non-strength training adults due to an average 5-pound per decade loss of muscle tissue. You want to maintain your physical capacity and performance? Make strength training a regular part of your life.
BUT GUESS WHAT ELSE – that 5-pound per decade muscle loss leads to a 3% per decade reduction in your resting metabolic rate. That reduction = weight gain. When less energy is required for daily metabolic function, the calories that were previously used by muscle tissue (that has since atrophied due to disuse) are stored as fat.
Everyone wonders why they gain weight as they get older…this is why. “But I’m not eating any differently”…you don’t need to! Your reduction in muscle is doing the trick.
So, if you’re a person who grew up in the 80’s…we were told cardio, cardio, cardio. For the good of your heart, you bet! Get some cardio exercise in a way that pleases you. But for the love of all things good and right in the world…STRENGTH TRAIN.
And before you go all crazy and start doing plyo pushups or go buy some crazy DVD’s…I’d like to urge you to visit your nearest trainer or a gym with trainers. Why? Because then you can learn about form. Trainers can help you learn how to do strength exercises properly. Most trainers are taught to ‘straighten before you strengthen’ and that simply means – we’ll look for postural deviations and weaknesses and help you correct those before adding load to your work. This helps prevent injury.
Ok. Woohoo! Get after it. Peace, Sarah