While losing weight and keeping it off is a starting point, building lean muscle mass should also be a top priority on your fitness journey. More lean muscle allows for more calories burned and a higher metabolism, the keys to reducing body fat. Strength training is an integral part of a balanced exercise routine. It isn't just about bulking up…there are so many reasons why you should make strength training habitual.
Strength training develops muscle mass in your body by using resistance techniques like free weights, resistance bands even your own body weight for push-ups, sit ups, or body weight squats. Your muscles work harder against the extra weight to strengthen and expand muscle mass which is crucial to effectively maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Expanding lean muscle mass increases bone density by strengthening the connective tissues. This decreases your risk of developing osteoporosis and reduces your chance for injury. Which is critical as we reach 40 and beyond. And especially for women over 40.
Besides building lean muscles, strength training preserves the lean muscles mass you already have. As you age, lean muscles diminish and fat increases in its place which is likely the last thing you want to hear. The good news, though, is that you can begin a strength training routine at any age!
Your metabolic rate changes with the amount of lean muscle you have. The concept of doing absolutely nothing and burning calories is hard to imagine, but in order to sustain itself muscles burn calories. One pound of lean muscle burns three times more calories than one pound of fat. And, (bonus!) after you activate your body through strength training, you burn even more.
Even the Centers for Disease Control is on board with muscle building exercises. They've found that building muscle helps improve blood sugar, sleep, mental health and balance. Doctors have recommended strength training to prevent disease and conditions like heart disease, diabetes, obesity. They've also found it controls arthritis, Parkinson's, fibromyalgia and it even enhances life for those who've suffered from stroke, heart attack, cancer, spinal cord injuries and depression
Strength training is good for the brain, too. It relieves stress and anxiety and studies have shown strength training and a combination of aerobic exercise can help improve thought process and learning abilities.
Strength training + cardio+ nutrient-rich eating = a healthy lifestyle. It's the trifecta.