This may come as a bit of a shock to all my women friends that are glued to their miles on the treadmill, or sweating it out in aerobics class.
You know that cardio alone will not support long term weigh loss, right?
Yes, burning off those calories with cardio is an excellent way to kick start the goal of weight loss by burning fat. Big time.
To keep it off, your body has to support all that fat burning power. Muscle is the only way to get there.
Way to often strength training – also referred to as weight lifting or toning – is overlooked as an amazing benefit for women and weight loss. Sculpting our muscles has long term impact for our fitness and health.
Top 10 reasons to strength train
1. Sexy – sculpted – toned
No matter how you do it, strength training can help keep you sexy, sculpted and toned
- Isometric: Think of push-ups. Working with your body weight against an unmovable force.
- Isotonic: Think holding a weight during a bicep curl. Moving weight through a range of motion.
- Isokinetic: Think crunches on an exercise ball. Muscle contracts and shortens at a constant speed.
2. Strong core
There are 650+ muscles in the human body and they are all there to keep you moving and feeling strong. Having a strong core isn’t something that I really thought about until I no longer had it. Strength in your core can improve your posture, in my case helping me look a little taller than my 5’3.5″ height. A strong core also helps you feel more stable, whether it’s hauling in groceries or jumping onto rocks in the middle of a stream.
3. Sleep better
60% of people who weight train get an average of 7 hours or more of sleep per night. You may not add hours of sleep to your routine, but I can tell you that the days that I strength train are the days I sleep very, very well.
4. Lower bad cholesterol and blood pressure
All good options for long life and health. There is a great article “Exercise: A drug-free approach to lowering high blood pressure” that explains the medical impact details.
Weight training can cause a temporary increase in blood pressure during exercise. This increase can be dramatic — depending on how much weight you lift. But, weightlifting can also have long-term benefits to blood pressure that outweigh the risk of a temporary spike for most people.
5. Burn more calories at rest
Increase your base metabolism so you are burning more while resting. You know you are burning calories while you are dripping sweat in that class, but the longer burn that keeps those calories disappearing is muscle.
6. Natural antidepressant and increases endorphins
Boost dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin – all resulting in better sleep, and really feeling good! That rush of endorphin that I usually feel kick in about 20 minutes into an intense workout have some wonderful side effects.
7. Stop, prevent and reverse bone and muscle loss
By 80 years of age, sedentary people will lose 50% of their muscle mass. Having watched my Grandmother experience this phenomenon I promised that I would protect my ability to move as long as I could. Any toning and strength training will help keep you going far into your golden years.
8. Burn off body fat
Adding just two lifting sessions a week can reduce body fat by 7%. Toning your muscles is not an all day affair. Plan on adding 15 minutes to your normal workout plan just 2 days a week.
9. Prevent and manage disease
Prevent obesity, arthritis, diabetes, and depression. Just one example is that 14 million Americans have Type 2 diabetes and strength training can balance glucose levels.
10. Better body mechanics
Lifting weights offer improvement in your coordination, balance and overall wellness. Strong muscles can help you manage stairs, uneven surfaces and lunging after that toddler.
Ready to add strength training this week?
Consider adding something to help build muscle while you are working out this week. Keep it simple and pick up something heavy!
Go get your fit on – Heather
Heather Montgomery is a fitness writer, triathlete, and blogger who is devoted to sharing what she has learned about becoming a triathlete after age 40. She uses her Metabolic Training Certification to help other women struggling to get fit in mid-life. She lives and trains in Santa Rosa, California, the new home of the Ironman triathlon. You can find her biking the Sonoma County wine trails.