With the multi-million dollar industry associated with weight loss, you’re sure to have heard about weight lifting and how it can help you lose weight. You may have heard a lot of hype about strength training and its many benefits, but you’re unsure of what those benefits are or how they’ll improve your quality of life.
While you shouldn’t start strength training program solely to lose weight, it’s true that there are numerous benefits to strength training. However, there are also many misconceptions associated with the topic. Clearing those misconceptions and offering a summation of strength training will provide you with a better understanding of how to create an overall fitness plan.
Strength Training Basics
Believe it or not, strength training comes in many shapes and sizes. Not all strength training relies on pounding heavy weights and becoming an expert bodybuilder. In essence, strength training just relies on providing resistance for muscles. While this can be done by lifting weights, weights are not necessary for basic strength training exercises. Simple resistance exercises can be performed with the use of resistance bands, free weights, or by utilizing your own body weight.
Benefits of Strength Training
The best advantage of strength training relies in acquired muscle strength. Bones also get stronger and more durable. Plus, strength training has been known to reduce and sometimes eliminate the symptoms of arthritis, diabetes, and osteoporosis. It can also relieve back pain and reduce depression. It also helps control body weight, which in turn will reduce the risk of heart disease. In addition, if you start a routine strength training regimen, you’ll also sleep better, have more energy, and have greater balance. What’s more, strength training is recommended for all ages, and it’s been shown to reduce the risk of falls in older adults.
Myths of Strength Training
One common myth shared by many women is that they’ll “bulk” up if they lift weights. This is definitely not true. As a woman, even if you worked out 5 days a week, with heavy weights, you’d only gain an average of about 5 lbs of muscle per year. Those men and women who are extremely muscular have trained constantly for years and years. A moderate strength training program will not create noticeable muscle growth of that degree.
A second myth is that muscle burns fat. Unfortunately, muscle does not magically eat all of our body fat. However, the more muscle you do have, the higher your resting metabolic rate (RMR) will be. Your RMR is the amount of calories that your body will burn when you are NOT exercising. Everyone’s body burns calories- even when we’re sitting still. However, how many calories you burn, depends on your metabolic rate, and increasing muscle strength increases your metabolism.
If you’re a beginner, you should probably try a circuit training regimen, which incorporates a whole-body workout into strength training. You should do this at least twice a week, but you shouldn’t replace cardiovascular exercises with strength training. Cardiovascular exercise is essential in maintaining heart health. To maintain a proper balance, start with 3 days of cardio and 2 days of strength training, and alternate the days.
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