WE DO NOT NEED reminds that exercise is vital for good health. Exactly How However, training is also important. It’s worth remembering that strength training should have a place in your exercise routine.
Strength training is no longer just for meatheads and professional athletes. Walk into a gym and you’ll probably notice a variety of people on the weight room floor. Pull up YouTube or Instagram and you’ll see videos of 70-year-olds doing heavy deadlifts or elementary school kids practicing their front squats with a PVC pipe during gym class.
This is the new normal for people of all ages and fitness levels, and it’s much more than just a trend. The health and well-being benefits of strength training are much more than getting stronger.
What is strength training?
Simply put, strength training, also known as resistance training, is a type of exercise that requires muscles to contract under the load of an external resistance. This external resistance can be used with body weight, as in push-ups or pull-ups, or with equipment such as dumbbells, kettlebells, barbells, resistance bands, or cable machines.
Strength training improves muscle strength by how much force they can produce. Strengthening your muscles has several benefits. Here are a few, with the guidance of Eric Sung, CSCS, trainer and member Men’s Healths Strength in Diversity Initiative.
The main benefits of strength training
Increase muscle strength and size
The goal of many gym goers is to change their body by building muscle. Strength training is the way to make it happen. Although cardiovascular exercise helps work your heart muscle, to increase skeletal muscle strength and size, you still need to incorporate consistent resistance training.
The stability of the joints depends on the strength of the muscles. Muscles absorb some of the impact on the joints through movement, such as walking, running and jumping. They also help protect against directional forces that can push our joints in directions they weren’t designed to move.
“Muscles help hold the joints,” says Sung. “Think of it like a building. Strong muscles around the joints are like the backbone of the building.”
It’s clear that building strong muscles can help prevent joint injuries. Strength training also limits the risk of bone injuries. Bone density increases when the bone is subjected to stress like when you lift heavy weights. An increase in bone density can reduce the risk of fractures and fractures. This can also help reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis, or the weakening of bone tissue, later in life.
“It is a profession that is especially suitable for the elderly population, [by] reduces the risk of falling and increases the risk of falling [being able to] to get back up after a fall,” says Sung.
Help burn more calories
Consistent strength training increases muscle mass in the body. A pound of muscle burns about 13 calories a day, while a pound of fat tissue only burns about 4. Generally speaking, that’s not a ton of calories, but if you’re exercising enough to build muscle mass, you’re probably exercising and moving, which also burns more calories. This burning of calories can lead to fat loss if you expel more calories than you take in, improving your body composition.
To improve the quality of life
Increasing muscle strength through strength training makes everyday movement easier, which contributes to a better quality of life, says Sung. “Whether running, walking, pulling or pushing a door makes daily activities easier.”
If you’ve ever heard your mother yell at you to “stand up straight” as a child, you might benefit from strength training. Including a versatile strength program as part means training the back muscles. Strong back muscles help improve your posture, says Sung.
Good posture distributes the pressure of gravity evenly on the skeleton, so no part of the body is overstressed. It keeps the spine healthy, promotes better digestion, improves lung capacity and keeps us balanced.
Better joint stability means better balance, which can improve agility and changes of direction.
In addition, incorporating more explosive moments such as hanging and pressing into strength training can improve our performance. This can lead to better performance in whatever activity you engage in. If you’re a fan of hitting the pickleball court with your friends on a Saturday morning, strength training can help put more power into your serve. If you’re a runner, strengthening your muscles can improve the thrust portion of your stride, making your walk more efficient.
Improves cardiovascular health
Building muscle mass not only burns more calories, but it can also help lower LDL (bad cholesterol) and increase HDL (good cholesterol). It can also help lower blood pressure and control blood sugar levels, all of which improve your cardiovascular health.
Improves mental health
It is clear that exercise has a great impact on mental health. Several studies have shown that resistance training can especially help increase the level of cognition and self-confidence, as well as reduce feelings of depression and anxiety.
How often should you do strength training?
Ministry of Health and Human Resources Physical activity guidelines for Americans we recommend strength training your most important muscle groups at least twice a week to improve strength and maintain functionality.
However, how many times a week you want to train depends largely on what you want to get out of strength training. If you want to build muscle to increase size, you should be in the gym a little more than two days a week. If you don’t exercise often enough, you won’t produce repetitive stimulation. You can’t capitalize on strength and size gains, says Shawn Arent, Ph.D., CSCS, chair of the University of South Carolina’s Department of Exercise Science. Men’s Health.
If you want to improve your overall health and fitness, aim for three days a week, says Men’s Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, CSCS. If you’re aiming for weight loss, try to be as active as possible with at least three strength training sessions per week. If you want to build muscle, you should increase your frequency from three to five times a week.
What are the risks of strength training?
There is a risk of injury in all physical activity. But strength training is relatively safe as long as you approach it correctly.
In strength training, injuries typically occur when the exercises are done incorrectly or when the load is progressed too quickly. Performing technical exercises like back squats or barbell deadlifts requires months of practice to teach the body the correct mechanics. If you stack plates before your muscles are ready, they may not be able to stabilize and control the movement under such a load. It can cause anything from minor muscle strains, muscle tears, joint dislocations, and broken bones.
Make sure you never attempt any exercise without first knowing the basics of proper form. Connecting with a certified personal trainer or strength and conditioning coach is the best way to ensure you learn proper form and progress safely.
Who should avoid strength training?
The only people who should not include strength training in their routine are people with medical considerations. If you’re fresh off an injury, recovering from surgery, or have a muscle condition, your doctor may suggest you stay away from strength training, says Sung. Always get permission from your doctor before starting a new exercise program, including a new strength training program.
Cori Ritchey, NASM-CPT is the Associate Health & Fitness Editor at Men’s Health and a certified personal trainer and group exercise instructor. You can find more of his work at HealthCentral, Livestrong, Self and more.
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