Friday, January 26, 2018

Six Surprising Benefits of Strength Training #1

When we think about the positive benefits of strength training, we usually focus on what we see: build muscle, burn fat, improve posture, and strengthen bones. But recent research has shown there are system-wide benefits for your body and mind, inside and out. This week and next, I will share six surprising benefits of strength training.

1. Strength training keeps you healthy.

Strong muscles fend off some of the most prevalent chronic illnesses. Muscular strength provides measurable protection against heart disease, cancer, hypertension, obesity and metabolic syndrome.

Studies have shown that strong people aren't just healthier because they're leaner. They are healthier because they're stronger. Researchers believe that the more you strength train, the more oxygenated blood you push through your system. That's one of the ways your body removes waste, lowers stress and delivers nutrients to the body. It's a head-to-toe housecleaning that makes every system in your body work better.

2. Strength training helps you age well.

Muscle mass peaks at about age 25. The gradual erosion of muscle adds up so that by retirement age, most of us have substantially less muscle than we had in our youth. This muscle loss disproportionately targets fast-twitch muscle fibers. These are the ones responsible for strength and power as opposed to the smaller, slow-twitch fibers which are more enduring.

This explains why older people may still be able to walk, even after they've lost the ability to run. It's also why falls can be so debilitating for those over 70. Fast-twitch fibers help you catch yourself when you fall, so you might bruise but not break. Any exercise is good but strength training, especially, helps people avoid falls and fractures, and stay vigorous in general, as they age.

3. Strength training balances your hormones.

Several factors influence the delicate balance of our hormones: aging, stress, nutrition, body composition, and insulin resistance, to name just a few. One of the most common imbalances involve testosterone and estrogen. This can result in low energy, low mood, and low sex drive among other symptoms. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) uses pills or injections to try to create balance but this treatment has been linked to serious side effects.

Weight training creates hormonal changes that help both men and women burn fat while maintaining or gaining muscle. Strength training stimulates the release of HGH, which aids in building muscle and burning fat. It has been shown to stimulate production of testosterone and estrogen and help re-balance them for both men and women. Weightlifting can bring balance without drugs, even independent of lifestyle and nutritional changes. The hormonal effects can produce the changes and the look of a healthy, fit physique.

Check back next week for three more reasons to add strength training to your workout week.

Stay active, Keep Moving and
Enjoy Your Food

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