When it comes to working out, most people opt for a jog on the treadmill or a few minutes on the bike. Cardio workouts like these are easy to do, and if you don’t have any equipment, it’s free to go for a run or a walk. However, because so many people opt for cardiovascular exercise almost by default, they generally are missing out on the many benefits of strength training. But you should know that there are so many wonderful benefits to strength training that you should consider introducing it to your current workout routine. Read on for more information.
What is Strength Training?
Strength training is an exercise that focuses on building strength in the muscles. Legs, arms, and core are the primary parts of the body that benefit the most from strength training. Working specific muscle groups allows you to focus on increasing muscular stamina and power. While cardio workouts help to strength the heart (a key muscle in the body), strength training is a wonderful supplement to encourage the heart to grow even stronger.
The Benefits of Strength Training
There are so many benefits to strength training and weight-lifting that it’s impossible to ignore them. If you’re looking to begin a strength routine, here are some things you can look forward to.
- Faster metabolism. The more you work on your strength, the more muscle mass you will have. Since muscles burn more calories than fat, replacing fat with more muscle means you’re burning more calories, even if you are just sitting down. This means that your metabolism is getting faster, which means you won’t have to count those calories as much.
- Helps with joints. Working on your muscle strength means you’re also working on your joints. Since most strength exercises require some sort of bend, like at the elbow as you do bench presses or at the knees for squats, your joints will become more flexible in the long wrong, which will prevent injuries.
- Slows bone loss. As a person ages, their body tends to wear down a bit. The bones, especially, are affected by aging. As you increase your muscle mass, your bones have to keep up, so they’re forced to increase in density. This helps women, especially, since they are more prone to osteoporosis.
- Manage pain. If you suffer from chronic pain issues related to injury or even arthritis, strength training can benefit you. It has been shown to reduce pain deriving from different sources.
- Improve brain function. Like cardio workouts, strength workouts keep the blood flowing throughout the body. This is particularly effective for increasing brain function. Additionally, the act of training your brain for the coordination working out requires further improves the brain’s abilities.
- Improves mood. The mental health benefits of strength training should not be understated. Lifting weights has been shown to improve mood and attitude, so if you’re suffering from a bit of negativity, pumping some iron could be just the thing you need.
How to Get Started
If you’re serious about getting started with a strength training workout routine, here are some things you should consider.
- Make sure you’re up for it. Before beginning any new workout routine, you should consult your doctor or a fitness professional. This is true especially if you have any previous injuries or ailments that might affect your workout.
- Take your time. A strength workout should begin with a warm up. Putting stress on cold muscles could cause injury. After your warmup, work at a slow, steady, and controlled pace. Strength training is not cardio – there is no time to beat, nor is there a finish line. After the workout, cool down and stretch out those muscles.
- Form is important. When you’re doing a strength workout, you should know where your body should be and how to properly brace yourself for the weight. Look up tutorials online for how to best perform certain exercises. At best, bad form means you’re not getting much out of the workout; at worst, you could do some serious damage to your body.
- Target each muscle group. Upper body, lower body, core – these are the three primary groups you must work. Neglecting one group could mean that other groups are making up for it, which will do more harm than good in the long run. Make sure to work each group at least twice a week. Don’t forget rest days!
While strength training may seem intimidating, it can be done quite simply, even with just your own body weight at home. With all the benefits that strength training provides, there’s no better time to introduce it to your workout routine.