The Many Benefits Of Weight Training

The research on the benefits of weight training is not lacking!Benefits of weight training

We so often go about our days not really thinking about the strength and stamina it takes for us to get our daily chores, errands, cleaning, cooking and general running around done.  Not to mention extra things that pop up such as raking, gardening, mowing the lawn snow shoveling, fixing a broken fence, changing a tire, putting away and taking out the lawn furniture every year.  Read on to learn about the many benefits of weight training

While I am all for chivalry letting my husband take care of the “boy jobs” the reality is there very well could be day when I am having to do these things for myself.  I want to be prepared.

When we add strength training to our regime, what used to be big tasks become seemingly smaller due to our new found strength. We’ll have more energy at the end of the day to prepare healthy foods or go for an extra walk or just sit and relax basking in the glory of our super clean house!

Why Weight Training Is So Important

Did you also know that as you lose muscle, your bones become weak, because they do not have to do as much work.  After the age of 50, the risk of osteoporosis is 42% in women and 27% in men.  Menopausal women need to keep a strong eye on their bone mass.

Here is just a small list of why you need to add resistance training to your workout program:

  •       Menopausal women have less Estrogen.  Estrogen was our muscle building hormone!
  •       Makes daily activities easier, from carrying groceries to rearranging your furniture.
  •       Gives you a sculpted look.
  •       Increases bone density, giving you a strong, stable skeleton.
  •       Improves balance and coordination.
  •       Prevents decay of the pads between your bones, so that you do not hurt when you move.
  •       Causes the tendons to grow deeper into your bones, reducing the chance of tearing.
  •       Builds muscles which will burn more calories, even while you are resting.
  •       Reduces blood pressure by making your heart stronger.
  •       Increases your metabolism.  Menopausal women struggle with a major decline in metabolism
  •       Decreases blood sugar, which helps prevent insulin resistance (the precursor to diabetes).
  •       Improves your aerobic capacity:  the stronger your muscles, the better your endurance.
  •       Gives you a general feeling of confidence –  If you are strong, you feel strong.!
  •       Prevents the weak, frail “skinny-fat” look. (More about this later)
  •       Raises your energy level.  The more muscle you have, the less effort you have to exert and the more energy you have available.
  •       Secures future protection against falls and fractures.  If you age with dense bones, strong muscles and good balance, your risk of injury plummets.
  •       Creates 22% more afterburn than aerobic exercise does.  (the afterburn is the fat and calories that your body burns in the hours after you have finished your workout.)
  • Stops muscle loss and helps begin the rebuilding process.

Why aerobic exercise is not enough

benefits of weight trainng“Can’t I just go for a run and call it a day?”

The answer is NO!

Running or other aerobic exercise will not work as a replacement for resistance training.  They are different exercises and provide different benefits.  While running, biking and other aerobic exercises do help increase the strength and endurance of your heart muscle, these types of exercise do not deliver the needed stress to your bones, muscles and tendons.  The stress applied to them through strength training causes your muscles, tendons and even bones to have to adapt by getting stronger… and better looking!

In order to build strength, you have to pull hard on tendons, do microscopic damage to your muscles and literally bend your bones.  Going out for a run or putting in an hour on the treadmill will not do this sufficiently.

This is not to say that aerobic exercise is not important:  it is!  But it is not resistance training.  You need both.

Have you heard about the term “skinny fat”?

Another danger of focusing on cardio or aerobic exercise and letting resistance training slide is the benefits of weight trainingsituation of what is known as “skinny fat.”  Skinny fat is a condition in which a person appears thin on the outside, but inside they are unhealthy and at risk for illness.

If you are losing weight through diet and exercise but not simultaneously doing resistance training, you are not only losing fat:  you are losing muscle as well.  Your body will burn through your muscles tissue as certainly as it will burn through your fat stores.  As you lose muscle, you lose a major source of energy, muscle definition and you slow down your metabolism.

Hidden fat is also a risk for the “skinny fat” person.   Many slim people actually have excessive amounts of visceral fat.  This is the fat that surrounds the organs.  This is the most dangerous fat to have because as it builds up around the organs the chance of disease increases drastically.  

There is no substitute for lifting heavy weights a minimum of  2 to 3 times each week in addition to your aerobic exercise activities

If you seem to be stalled and your weight won’t budge, read the blog post on “Overcoming weight loss plateau”  for more help

Winter isn’t far off

There are a lot of extra chores (at least in the northern most states) to do in the winter that require extra strength and stamina.

You know those days when you finally get the driveway shovels out, you run in the house to grab a quick shower before work and the snow plow has come by and created an arctic berm in your escape route?? Gah!  It happens All.  The.  Time!  Building strength now, in the fall, will give you time to get ready for beating the berm.

You know those times when you are rushing out the door, forgetting that your front porch may very well have turned into a skating rink overnight?  While the efforts you make to keep yourself upright probably makes for a high heart rate (and good entertainment for your neighbor) but aren’t the safest form of cardio you can do.

Building a strong core is one of the many benefits of strength training and starting now will help you keep yourself upright and not breaking your butt bone.  Winter is much more enjoyable without a broken tailbone or ribs.

In addition to weight training, having a solid nutrition plan can make all the difference not only in how you look but in how you feel.  To get a week long meal plan that will help boost your peri and menopausal moods, download the free Good Mood Food Guide… It’s like glitter for your brain and body!

Are you Winter Fit?  

Join my 10 Week Challenge to build strength and stamina for winter activities while burning fat to look lean!