The American College of Sports Medicine recommends adults perform regular aerobic exercise and strength training as part of a well-rounded fitness routine, to promote health and well-being. Many skip the weight room because they do not know how to get started, or because it is simply not as satisfying in terms of calorie burn. Before beginning a routine, you might consider hiring a trainer to help you devise a routine that works for your body and your schedule. You will start reaping the rewards of strength training within a few short weeks.
Age-Related Muscle Loss
As you age, you naturally lose lean muscle mass. If you don't lift weights or neglect to do resistance exercise, your body fat percentage will increase. According to IDEA Health and Fitness Association expert Len Kravitz, you lose muscle at a rate of about 1 to 2 percent per year, beginning at age 50. Maintaining lean muscle as you age helps you stay functional and independent longer.
The American College of Sports Medicine reports that strength training with free weights can increase the amount of calories you burn daily. Compared to fat, muscle tissue burns more calories when at rest. This helps you manage your weight more efficiently. The most effective way to increase lean muscle mass is to lift weights.
Gain Muscle Tissue
If you want to build muscle, you should always challenge your muscles. For instance, if you're performing a set of eight repetitions, the weight you use should always be heavy enough so you can't do another repetition after finishing the set. You'll have to gradually increase the weight. Also, slowing down your repetitions and giving your muscles time to recover before working them again, also allows them to get bigger and stronger.
Strengthen Your Bones
Strength training stresses your bones, improving their density and reducing the risk of osteoporosis, notes Kravitz. Lift weights at least twice per week consistently to provide adequate challenge to build bone density. Go for full-body workouts that include moves like squats and lunges.
Your Daily Functioning
Strength training helps improve your function in daily life, and in athletic endeavors. Becoming stronger allows you to move your own furniture, carry groceries, and chase your kids more readily. Strength training helps athletes zoom up hills more efficiently, hit harder, and kick with more power.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Why Strength Training?
- American Council on Exercise: Strength Training 101
- IDEA Health and Fitness Association: The 25 Most Significant Health Benefits of Physical Activity & Exercise; Len Kravitz
- American College of Sports Medicine: Selecting and Effectively Using Free Weights
- Mercola.com: This is Likely to Cause Muscle Weakness During Your Next Workout
- Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.