Those of you who know me personally know that I am a HUGE proponent of lifting weights – really, resistance training in general.
I often joke that I am #TeamNoCardio, but barring my dislike of running (anyone else up for horizontal running??), there is scientific reasoning to my exercise preference. Namely, MUSCLE and the STRENGTH benefits of resistance training.
Studies have shown that physical strength is the greatest predictor of longevity; just think about it: strength is the BASIS for everything you do.
Standing up, sitting down, walking, carrying your bags. If you can’t get yourself off of the couch without struggling, how do you expect to be able to do much else in life?
What is Resistance Training?
Anything that requires you to work against a type of force that resists your movement. Yes, traditional weightlifting is the epitome of this term, but bodyweight exercises, gymnastics, Pilates, and yoga can count as well.
Muscle mass is the most METABOLICALLY ACTIVE tissue in your body.
Metabolism is the amount of energy (i.e. calories) you burn throughout the day. We burn calories just EXISTING. By increasing your muscle mass, your body burns more calories trying to fuel your muscle. Excessive CARDIO has been shown to LOWER METABOLIC RATE because our bodies adapt to the energy expenditure and WASTES AWAY our muscle.
Resistance Training protects your BONES.
Just taking calcium won’t cut it, just like eating more protein won’t make you build muscle. You need to send a SIGNAL. Through resistance training, you apply a force on your bones which tell them, “Hey, we need stronger bones to support this activity!”
BONE DENSITY becomes increasingly important as we get older to lower our risk of osteoporosis.
Your HORMONES love strength training.
In both sexes, resistance training stimulates the release of human growth hormone (HGH), which slows carbohydrate breakdown and fat storage, and increases protein synthesis thereby aiding in muscle building and fat burning. It also increases insulin sensitivity, helping to control blood sugar and preventing Type 2 diabetes.
Regular strength training has been shown to help regulate sex hormones, i.e. testosterone and estrogen as men and women get older. These hormone levels tend to decrease in the respective sexes which affects muscle growth, bone density, and energy levels. Resistance training has been shown to boost production of these hormones and help rebalance them in men and women.
Now, when I speak about resistance training I’m not talking about getting #JackedAndTan, with popping biceps and washboard abs. That’s not an achievable goal for everyone, nor should it be THE goal in the first place.
We’re looking for a general increase in physical (and mental!) strength, which can help protect and improve functions in your body. Resistance training combats against the negative effects of today’s lifestyle of general inactivity and overconsumption by boosting metabolic rate, promoting overall mobility, increasing bone density, and regulating hormones.
Strength training doesn’t need to be the ONLY type of exercise you do, but I believe it should be a regular addition to you regimen. As always, choose something that you ENJOY doing. You don’t have to lift barbells if you don’t want to, just like no one is allowed to force me to go running 😜