This is something that I hold really close to my heart. Strength is an amazing attribute to have across all aspects of your life. We see strength everyday, either in the gym lifting serious weights or simply finding the emotional fortitude to get through a lost relationship.
The world of physical fitness is becoming more and more confusing daily. You are bombarded with infomercials of the newest piece of equipment for your “guns”, another diet book being released about what “NOT” to eat, or all your friends telling you to join one of their new gym classes they started going to that they swear is the “BEST!”
It is common knowledge by now that obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease (CVD) are on the rise all over the world. But there is good news; all these problems and “epidemics” are preventable! So first, any type of physical activity for 30 minutes helps in reducing body weight/fat and starting the journey to a healthier you. So if you’re not moving today, GET MOVING!
I am not here to convince you which training program is the best, nor which system will achieve your personal goals. But what I can promise is we all need strength in our lives. So I want to cover the most important aspects of your health: the Physical and the Mental.
This is going to be broken up into 2 parts because of the sheer volume of information and examples. Don’t worry; it’s not going to be dry and boring like your high school classes. But I’m going to link all references so if you want to look into it more you can.
In Part I, we are going to cover the physical aspects of adding strength training to your daily routine. We will cover some common fears and misconceptions about muscles/strength and they will be answered by all facts/studies throughout this article, so enjoy the ride.
The physical aspects of Strength go beyond the visual aspects we see. We are far more complex than the “picking heavy things up and putting them down” mentality. If you are going to do something, know why you are doing it.
I believe we are in an age of “western medicine,” of only going to a doctor to get a pill to heal oneself. What ever happened to “preventable” medicine and the things we can do to ensure we live healthier and happier?
Unbeknownst to most, strength training actually has “significant cardiovascular benefits.” In a recent study, it was demonstrated that strength training actually increased the participants’ leg strength and VO2 max within 16 weeks.
When healthy adults participate in strength training they are not only combating high blood pressure, they are able to prevent it from happening. *PLEASE CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR FIRST.
Even people who have been diagnosed with chronic heart failure (CHF) have been able to improve skeletal muscle and exercise performance. Strength training has been proven to improve “Quality-of-Life” parameters when added to cardiac rehab programs also and recommended.
But let’s be honest, we are all a little vain now and then. We all want to look good naked. Be able to take off our shirts when on the beach or in front of others with no fear.
How can we do this?
Add strength training!
In order to look your best, you are not going to be able to just go “run” and do “cardio” to get it. You need to increase the size, strength, and force of your muscles. (Remember ladies; strength training will not make you bulky.) Incorporating strength training has been proven to improve your body composition (how it looks) and at the same time decrease body fat mass and body fat percentage throughout your body.
We hear all the time about “boosting your metabolism” to burn more fat, however strength training does that, along with retaining fat free mass within your body unlike only aerobic training.
Strength training is even considered the “key in preventing severe injuries” by the University of Florida and beyond all the negative illusions of children lifting, what else do you know that has been proven to help increase their strength by 30–50% within 8–12 weeks of proper training?
Think you are too old to strength train? How about a study that demonstrated that not only was strength increased, but the size and functional mobility of the elderly up to 96 years old! You are seriously never too old or too young to start some sort of strength training.
Finally, if looking for one last study to help you decide on which path of fitness you should go, take into account that mortality rates were lower for those with moderate/high muscular fitness compared to those with low muscular fitness.
In closing, I hope you found some reasons that resonated with you on why you should start investigating your own strengths and where you can improve your life.