Let’s just say this right now: Everyone needs strength training (appropriate for their fitness level! No lie, I trained a 99 year old man who wanted to be able to get up and down off his tractor.)
Here are some benefits to strength training:
- improved muscle strength and endurance
- improved “Functional fitness”
- increased BMR
- increase in bone, tendon, and ligament strength
- improved joint function
- improved sense of self esteem and self confidence
- decreased risk of injury from everyday living and sports
- assists in managing chronic conditions such as diabetes, CVD, and obesity
- Reduces (and in some cases reverses!) osteoporosis
- sharpens your thinking skills
But, if you are interested in weight loss, strength training is essential. First of all, strength training done properly burns a lot of calories. The same 150 pound person who burned 120-128 calories in 30 minutes of walking (see yesterday’s post), could burn 288 calories in a half hour of strength training with 60 seconds between sets. Buuuuuuut, the pay off is even more than that. Any activity burns calories while you are doing it, but having lean muscle increases the calories you burn even at rest. A 150 pound person with 35% body fat has a BMR (the amount of calories it takes to keep your body alive at rest) of 1325 calories per day. But a 150 pound person with only 18% body fat has a BMR of 1575. Net net, the more lean muscle you have, the easier it becomes to lose fat.
I, like many people, tried over and over to lose weight by walking or jogging or doing yoga. The only thing that finally worked for me was strength training combined with proper nutrition. I’ve lost 100lbs and kept it off, and I’ll never go back to life without weights!
Women: worried that strength training will make you “bulky”? Catch tomorrow’s post!