Monday, March 3, 2014

What is Strength Training And Why Is It Important?

154799_730034140348060_1177511195_nStrength training is the process of exercising with resistance to strengthen the musculoskeletal system. In simple words, any form of exercise which uses some kind resistance (like machines, dumbbells, resistance bands, or even self body weight), will strengthen the muscles and bones in the body, and this is Strength Training. It is often addressed by various names like resistance training, weight training, toning etc. Why are muscles so important? Muscles are used at every point of time for any moment the body makes. From blinking eyes to running and climbing stairs, for any activity muscles are used. Muscles can contract, relax and release force. The more muscles body has, the more is the calorie burning capacity, which means these are metabolically active tissues, which means higher BMR.  Apart from all the benefits of strong muscles this is the highlight – Muscles burn calories, reduces fat, and makes us fit.  And strength training helps in developing these muscles.  Not only while a person is exercising he burns calories, but it’s also most effective as post exercise calorie consumption.

Benefits of Strength Training:

Adds more Muscles and burning more Calories: Muscles not only strengthen the body but also increase the BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate). Physical act of lifting weights do burns calories at the very time of performance, but also it increases the calorie burn at rest. Body burns more calories at rest to maintain the muscles tissue cells that to maintain the fat cells. Builds Stronger Bones: Bones are actually living tissues which gets stronger with weighted exercises. Regular strength training helps in improving the bone density, hence reducing the risk of Osteoporosis. This is esp. true for women; they lose a lot of calcium and bone density in many different phases of life like monthly menstrual cycle, pregnancy, child birth and menopause. By a certain age the calcium absorption power decreases, bones lose their calcium deposits and this leads to Osteoporosis, weak bones. Helps Heart:  Studies have shown that strength training reduces heart problems in the people suffering from them and it also helps to keep such problems at bay. Several studies also show that strength training lowers the HDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and increases the LDL cholesterol (good cholesterol). Research conducted in the College of Health Sciences’ Department of Health, Leisure and Exercise Science at Appalachian State University has shown that resistance training can lower blood pressure by as much as 20%. These results are due to increased blood flow to muscles, heart and body. Reduces risk of Diabetes: Researches have shown that strength training improves and alters the way body processes sugar. They prove that it helps the insulin sensitivity and blood glucose control. As stated above, strength training helps lower cholesterol and blood pressure which also play a role in diabetes management. Lose more weight and look slimmer: Other than burning calories and boosting the metabolism, strength training also helps is losing fat from the body. A study at Penn State University found that, on average, people who lift weights lose six more pounds of fat than those who don’t. It all comes down to the base line of building muscles. When just dieting body burns fat as well as muscles (which is not good). While cutting calories and exercising, body burn burns fat to fuel itself, maintaining the muscle mass. That means body is burning fat keeping the muscles. This makes the body slimmer and defined. Enhances physical and mental well – being: Strength training make body strong, it has more energy to perform day to day activities. It improves flexibility and balance. Researchers have proved that it reduces stress hormone, Cortisol. It decreases tension and anxiety and helps to elevate from depression. It boosts brain health. According to an article in the Archives of Internal Medicine, older women who did an hour or two of weight lifting each week improved their cognitive function, and better planned and executed a variety tasks. How to Introduce Strength Training Workout in daily routine: It’s recommended to introduce two upper body and two lower body strength training sessions (four in totals) in one week. Never target same muscles on two consecutive days. Another option is to do a full body routine three times a week. Cardio can be done 15 -20 prior and after these routines as warm up and cool down. Long Duration Cardio and/or HIIT can be performed on the rest days between each resistance training routine. Example Strength Training Plan:
Day Strength Training Cardio
Monday Lower Body -
Tuesday Upper Body -
Wednesday Core Cardio
Thursday Lower Body -
Friday Upper Body -
Saturday Core / Rest Cardio/ Rest
Sunday - Cardio / Rest
Few Last words: Women should not be afraid to pump up the iron. We can never bulk up our muscles. We don’t have that hormonal configuration. It requires high testosterone level like men to bulk up, which are just not present in a female body. And it takes lots of hard work, lot of weight and supplements to look like body builders. Instead of becoming huge, females will reshape their body, build lean muscles and burn calories faster than someone who sticks to just cardio exercise. Source:-

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