Five reasons to add strength training to your workout

Posted on April 28, 2015 by Brynna Gabrielson

Woman doing strength trainingStrength training may commonly be associated with bulking up muscle, but its benefits are more far reaching than just filling out a t-shirt. Incorporating strength training into your work out 2-3 times a week can have excellent benefits for your health.  The list of reasons to add strength training to your workout is long, but we've picked out a few of the more important ones.

It'll help you look good and feel good about yourself

When it comes to losing weight, cardio is king. Various studies have demonstrated this over and over, however this doesn't mean that those trying to lose weight should ignore strength training all together. While you may not burn as many calories doing 30 minutes of strength training as you would doing 30 minutes of cardio, you will still burn a substantial sum1. And in the process you'll be maintaining and building lean muscle which will make your body look toned and fit. And as an added bonus muscle burns more calories than fat, so if you add muscle you'll be giving your metabolic rate (the amount of calories you burn in a day) a boost2.

You'll be stronger

This is a no brainer really. Resistance training will inevitably help you to build muscle. And strength is always a bonus - from carrying groceries to small children - your life will be a little easier. But the added strength won't just make lifting things easier; it will also make your body tougher. Those who strength train have been reported to have stronger ligaments and tendons thanks to enhanced collagen production2. This coupled with better musculature means that your body may be less susceptible to injury.

It helps manage pain

Strength training has been shown to improve pain management for a variety of ailments. A study by Tufts University resulted in pain reduction of up to 43% in participants with Osteoarthritis3 and a study in the UK showed similar results for participants who suffered from rheumatoid arthritis4.  Other evidence has shown that strength training can improve lower back pain and pain experienced by sufferers of fibromyalgia.

It prevents type 2  diabetes

Exercise is an import aspect of managing and preventing diabetes, and a recent study has shown just how important it can be. The study found that women who completed 150 minutes of strength training per week were 40% less likely to develop diabetes that than those who did not. However combining strength training and cardio had an even better result, with women who completed 150 minutes of aerobic exercise and 60 minutes of strength training being one third as likely to develop diabetes when compared to inactive women5.

It strengthens bones

Bone mass peaks for adults around the age of 30. Following this our bodies begin to absorb more bone than we create, resulting in bone loss. While this is slow at first, as we age this speeds up - particularly for woman who can rapidly lose bone mass during menopause. Strength training has been identified by various studies as a good method for strengthening bones and adding density as we age and has been recommended by the National Osteoporosis Society6.

1 http://www.runnersworld.co.uk/news/strength-training-may-burn-more-calories-than-previously-thought/10986.html
2 http://www.nhs.uk/livewell/loseweight/pages/how-can-i-speed-up-my-metabolism.aspx
3 https://www.acsm.org/docs/current-comments/rtandip.pdf
4 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1756170/
5 http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/growingstronger/why/
6 http://www.arthritistoday.org/news/why-lift-weights.php
7 http://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1001587
8 https://www.nos.org.uk/~/document.doc?id=770

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