Whether you are getting in shape or trying to stay in shape, you probably know that the three pillars that form the foundation of a solid fitness routine are aerobic activity, strength training and stretching. You may have found that it’s easy enough to go for a walk or hit the treadmill to get your heart rate up, and you love to stretch, but lifting weights is just not fun.
Once you realize how good strength training is for your body and how much easier it can make your life, you will be ready to give it its proper place in your workout schedule. The Mayo Clinic is an excellent source of reliable information about the benefits of a weight workout, including gaining strength, protection from injury and increased metabolism.
The most obvious way you will profit from strength training is that you will get stronger. You will probably notice this happening before you notice any visible changes in the size or shape of your muscles. You will realize that everyday activities, like carrying the groceries, are easier, and you may find that you are sitting into chairs instead of collapsing into them. If you make a point of being aware of these changes, they can give you the motivation to continue with resistance workouts until you do begin to see visible changes in your body.
Along with increased strength, resistance training will also give you improved balance and protection from injury. Not only muscles, but tendons and ligaments get stronger when you work out with weights. Your body is simply held together more tightly, resulting in better balance and better posture. Larger, firmer muscles also protect your bones in the case of a fall. They can absorb the impact and make sure you only end up with bruises, not breaks. As long as you continue with a gentle stretching routine, your body will be both strong and flexible.
If you are trying to lose weight, increased muscle mass is your friend. Muscle tissue needs fuel to do its job, and the more muscle you have the more fuel it will burn. Your metabolism will be higher while you are working out and for potentially hours afterward. This effect isn’t dependent on a bodybuilder physique; every bit of muscle you add to your body will cause you to burn more calories.
When you have decided to add resistance training to your fitness routine, you may want a little guidance about the different kinds of equipment you can use and which specific exercises might be best for you. The CDC has an excellent beginner’s program on their site that explains everything you need to know, and they even have printable log sheets so you can keep track of your progress.
It is never too to late to reap the benefits of strength training. It gives you a strong body that looks great and works even better.