The Benefits Of Strength Training

Friday, June 15, 2007

Posted by Helene

By now, you have probably figured out that what I consider a well rounded fitness routine includes cardio-vascular exercise, strength training or weight lifting and stretching. I can say that 99% of the ladies I train start by telling me “I don’t want to lift weights that much because I don’t want to bulk up”. I then spend about 10-15 extra minutes explaining the many benefits of strength training and that women do not have the levels of testosterone necessary to bulk up and that would have to have a pretty intense diet and exercise routine to get bulked up. The benefits of strength training do not apply to women only so let’s talk about a few, shall we?

- Increased metabolic rate: strength training can provide up to a 15% increase in metabolic rate which is helpful for weight loss and weight management.
Cardio exercise burns calories right at the time you are exercising but your metabolism returns to normal after about 30 minutes. When you strength train, and depending on the intensity of your weight lifting, your metabolism can stay elevated for up to 2 hours after you are finished.

- Strength training increase not only your muscle mass but also you bone density. Inactivity can lead to a decrease in bone density and over the years increase your chance for osteoporosis. Once again folks, think about the big picture. What you are doing now, will be beneficial for years to come. Some studies show an increase of 1% -3 % in adults who included weight lifting in their routine.

- Some studies have shown that about 25% to 30% of the weight lost by dieting alone is not only fat but lean tissue, muscle, bone and water. Strength training preserves your lean muscle mass, increase your muscle strength and ultimately reducing your body fat.

- Strength training can reduce your risk for diabetes, or improve your blood sugar levels if you already have it: research shows that muscle training can increase the way your body utilizes glucose by 23% in just four months. Your muscles use sugar (carbohydrates) during exercise to contract and relax. Your body uses the sugar supplies in your blood to be able to meet this demand, reducing your blood sugar levels.

- Strength training lowers blood pressure: regular exercise and specially muscle building strengthens the heart and allows it to pump more blood with less effort. The stronger your heart is, the less it has to work and prevents you from exerting your arteries.
- A wide variety of sports-related or life-related injuries can be prevented by strengthening muscles and joints. Strength training also improves your balance, flexibility and mobility. The stronger your muscles get the more comfortable you will be and avoid falls and accidents, or simple muscle and joint tears and fatigue.
- I often train people who need physical rehabilitation after surgery or accidents. Because we cannot strength train the injure muscle, we work on strengthening the muscles surrounding the injure area. The stronger your muscles get the quicker you will heal.

- Strength training improves your quality of life: it is much easier to accomplish everyday activities, such as carrying groceries, pushing strollers and working in the yard if you are not struggling with your lack of strength. Building a successful strength training routine will also boost your confidence level, make you stand taller and make you feel good about yourself, thus warding off feelings of depression

Start slow and build up gradually the number of exercises, the weights and frequency of your training. If you do not know where to start and you already belong to a gym, make an appointment with a trainer. Cut out routines in magazines and start lifting with cans of soup of jars of tomato sauce. Rent a tape or refer to our new bi-weekly moves demos.

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This Post was written by Helen from Tartelette


Ohhh I've got lots of questions this time! =)

'kay so I've got diabetes and I'm hugely over weight.. why don't I just concentrate on a strength training routine and forget about the cardio? I realize I'd have to stretch to perform safe strength training, yes?

When will we see your examples of the rights and wrongs of strength training? (I can't wait 3 weeks!)

And finally - for someone as big *sigh* as I am, a lil 14.5 oz. can of soup isn't going to do me much good is it?

Love you!

Lis said...
June 16, 2007 at 4:33:00 AM GMT+2  

Hey Lisa!
Cardio is necessary to strengthen your heart and increase your blood pumping mechanism. I am afraid that you can't skip it, but cardio can simply be a 10 minute walk with 1 minute spurs at a faster pace then recovery for 3 minutes and spur again, and so forth.
To lose weight and improve your health you have to combine cardio, weights, stretching and proper eating. (hey, I did not say it was a walk in the park, but it CAN be done, because it will improve your life)

I will do strength training pics like I did again next week. Too much info can be overwhelming so I shoot for every other week.

You would not believe how painful it can be to "pretend" exercises without weights overhead shoulder presses,like your pushing the ceiling away with you hands for 100 times or leg extension: sit down on a chair and extend your leg straight in front of you, then lower it and bring it up, repeat 30 hurts!
In the US , you can buy dumbbells for $1 for #1 and you can start with a set of 3 and 5 pounds.

Helene said...
June 16, 2007 at 5:06:00 AM GMT+2  

Oh! This is so good! You're so motivating. This post spoke a lot of words to me. Osteoporosis is big among the women in my family, my mother, maternal grandmother and some of my aunts all have it to varying degress. I know that I have to do something and the sooner the better.
On a more positive note, my husband started going to the gym 2 weeks ago. He never has a weight problem but said that as he was approaching 40 it was about time he got fit or otherwise he'd never do it. He's now doing a fully rounded programme which includes everything that you've mentioned. I'm really proud of him and as soon as my back is in better shape I'm going to join too. In the meantime I could start with swimming I guess. Anything is better than nothing, right?
Great post Helen,

June 16, 2007 at 11:45:00 AM GMT+2  

OK Helene, I really love this.

I really do enjoy strength training at the gym, but until today I was unaware of all the benefits it had. For example I did not know that after strength training the metabolic rate stayed up that long.

I try for a good mix between strength training and a cardio session, unfortunately I am not really seeing to much weight loss as a result. So, I am thinking I either must be doing something wrong or not eating right. The later I cannot believe can be right because I do think I am eating alright and in decent portions.

I'd love to go through one of my training sessions with you so you can pick out what I am doing right and what I am doing wrong.

My goal is to loose 4-5 kilos and tone up my body (my tummy area in particular). I like the look of my arms and legs already from all the strength training, the rest I need to work on still. Furthermore, I really love the feeling of high I have after training which gives me a boost for the whole day too.

Helen this is so wonderfully informative I wish I could hug you for enlightening me!! HUGS!!

Meeta K. Wolff said...
June 16, 2007 at 12:20:00 PM GMT+2  

As always beautifully written and well researched. You did a very good job on this one :)

Anonymous said...
June 16, 2007 at 3:02:00 PM GMT+2  

This is an excellent post. I incorporated strength training into my routine after my brother suggested it and I have seen the benefits in my marathon running! The muscles seem to recover faster and with focus on my abs and core, I feel like I have more breathing room when running. Thank you sharing this! -- Preeti

Anonymous said...
June 27, 2007 at 4:59:00 PM GMT+2  

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