Strength training. If you don’t already do this, does the idea of it scare you? If you are new to the fitness world, chances are, you may feel that weight-training may not be for you for some reason or another. What you must realize is that weight/strength training comes with incredible benefits and incorporating it into your workout routine will be very beneficial for you.
If you are hesitant to try, ask yourself why. You may think it is intimidating, will result in you looking “too muscular,” or that you’re not “fit” enough for it. Firstly, please do not let the idea of it intimidate you because I promise, it’s not as hard as it looks! If you start with weight that is suitable for your strength, you will slowly begin getting accustomed to it and feeling more comfortable. You may feel uncomfortable in the beginning but trust me, you will get used to it and will slowly develop more strength! Secondly, if you are afraid you will look “too muscular,” I can assure you that you will not get to that point if it is not your goal. Adding muscle is difficult to do and requires you to follow a specific nutrition and training plan. If that is not the path you would like to take, no worries! You will still benefit from weight-training! Lastly, if you don’t think you’re “fit” enough to lift weights, please remind yourself of this – no matter where you are in your journey, YOU. ARE. FIT. There is no single definition of “fit” and as you continue your journey, you are only making improvements to yourself.
Now, let’s move on to WHY you need to incorporate weight-training.
Strength-training improves your muscle, ligament, and tendon strength, leading to a decreased risk of injuries. Also, your bones become stronger, “lower[ing] the risk for fractures.” In other words, your body will become MUCH less fragile.
Burn More Calories
By increasing your muscle mass, you will also be “speed[ing] up your metabolic rate.” As a result, you will be burning more calories outside of the gym. A study conducted by Harvard found that individuals who incorporated 20 minutes of strength-training into their daily workouts had a decrease in abdominal fat when compared to other individuals who performed aerobic exercises for the same amount of time.
Improvements in Your Brain
Research has found that exercise “improves cognitive thinking,” but one specific study showed that people who were on a strength-training program showed an improvement of practical skills. Keeping your brain healthy is a huge benefit of this type of training. Check out this blog on how working out alone can lead to great improvements of the mind.
You feel DAMN good
As you start getting comfortable with lifting weights, you’ll start to realize that you feel absolutely amazing. You will start seeing progress – in the mirror and by feeling stronger. With this comes confidence and let me tell you… it feels good. You feel more refreshed, empowered, and energized – ALL of these are great feelings and which you will find out soon enough.
Old, young, beginner, or experienced, strength-training is important to incorporate in to your workouts. So, the next time you’re in the gym, use a resistance machine, dumbbells, barbells, medicine balls, or kettlebells and start working on your strength! Apart from the physical benefits, you will begin to feel better about yourself. You’re likely to see improvements in your mind and body as time goes on, and this can become addicting. What are your thoughts on strength-training? Like it? Love it? Let me know in the comments below!
Main Photo: The American Council of Exercise
Deadlift Photo: Greatist