I know a lot of people are skeptical about strength/weight training when they kick-off their fitness journey. And to be honest I understand why that happens with most of the people because at the beginning lifting weights could seem quite overwhelming. A beginner’s fitness regime is all about doing cardio by running on the treadmill or cycling & then summing up with some abs exercise. Boom, there you go, done for the day. But believe me, there’s much more to fitness than just running on a damn treadmill & performing abs exercises. Inculcating strength training & lifting weights could be one of the best decisions you can take to take your fitness up a notch.
Strength training is an umbrella term for weight training or resistance training where external resistance like weights, bands, machines, or even your body is used. This external resistance is what ultimately makes your muscles work harder than usual. There are several benefits of strength training, out of which I’ll be discussing 5 of them to let you all know why everyone should inculcate it in their fitness regime. Lets quickly now dive into 5 reasons why everyone should strength train.
5 Reasons to strength train
- Build/Maintain Muscles – Building muscles comes with a lot of benefits for our body. Our muscles are invaluable. Muscles are the reason we can walk, run, climb, or do any kind of physical activity. But as we age, our muscles start getting deteriorated. It basically starts from our early 30’s & this process only gets accelerated as we age further. According to research, as we approach our 40’s, we tend to lose around 8% muscle mass every decade. And this process continues to accelerate even rapidly after the ’60s. So this is where strength or resistance training comes into play & it helps us to conserve our muscle mass. Losing muscle mass is a natural thing as you age, but through strength training, you can delay this process by years or even decades.
- Aids In Fat Loss – When it comes to fat/weight loss, the first thought that pops up in people’s minds is Cardio. Though cardio does help you to do weight loss, at the same time it also shrinks you down. You usually end up being skinny fat with negligible muscle mass. This could make your BMI look good but still, you will be far away from your prime self. On the other hand, strength training helps you to build muscles as well as burn that extra fat too. It helps you tone your body & gives you a much better physique overall. It helps you to burn those extra calories while you are performing & also long after it which in scientific terms is stated as EPOC or “Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption“. Strength training coupled with cardio burns fat way faster than just doing cardio.
- Increases Bone Density – Strong muscles lead to stronger bones. Strength training doesn’t just help to build muscles but also makes our bones denser & stronger. It happens because of the same mechanism as that of muscle growth. Bones are in great resistance when we strength train & that is what makes it denser & stronger eventually over the years. It also helps us to fight Osteoporosis which makes our bones weaker & brittle & causes a loss of bone density. In a study, it was also found out that it can also reverse the effect of osteoporosis if it’s incorporated in a meaningful way. Some of the best exercises include Squats, Shoulder lifts, Push-ups, Hamstring curls, etc.
- Improves Mobility & Flexibility – There is a general perception that weight training makes our muscles stiff & tightens it up. But in reality, if weight training is conducted properly, it enhances our mobility & flexibility. In a study, it was found out that if one performs a full range of motion in their weight training exercises, it enhances joint flexibility & also saves much valuable time from doing too much of static stretches. There are strategies that we can incorporate in our routine & lifts such as performing eccentric exercises, working on our core & performing 1.5 reps in lifting.
- Augments Mental Health – Most of us know that any form of exercise doesn’t just improve our physical health but also our mental health. So it goes without saying that strength training also comes with an abundance of mental health benefits. It includes easing depression, reducing anxiety, improves memory & attention power & a lot more. But I think the biggest benefit of weight training is that it raises one’s self-esteem. And having a healthy self-esteem is a big component of good psychological health which gives a feeling of self-worth & value.
To conclude it, all I can say is that strength training is something one should definitely try once to see the magic themselves. It has the power to transform your life completely. It makes you physically fit & also brings mental harmony. And if you are looking for adding resistance training in your routine, you surely got a lot of options. You don’t need a fancy gym or home gym set up to start off. You just need to start on a beginner level where you can perform basic exercises such as Free Squats, Push-ups, Pull-ups, Planks, etc. And as you gain strength, you can move onto weight training exercises such as Bench Press, Squats, Deadlifts & many more.
I am thinking of writing a blog on basic & advanced strength training exercises. Tell me in the comment section if that is something you guys will be interested to know about. Cheers.