Around age 35, our muscle mass can start to shrink from 3% – 5% every decade. That means you better use and build up those muscles, folks. What’s fascinating, though, is even with that knowledge, less than 25% of Americans over the age of 45 actually strength train.
Maybe it’s because it is hard to understand why strength training is important until your strength is gone completely. All day, our movements are fueled by the strength we have created over our lifetimes, from getting up out of bed, to holding the leash as we walk our dogs, and if this muscle strength is not maintained or built, it will make these movements much more difficult as we age. Beyond that, here are several other reasons to keep a strength training routine.
A study from Iowa State University found that weight lifting for less than an hour a week may reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke by 40% to 70%—if you want to stop reading here and go work on your strength, that’s A-ok because those stats are insanely good! The American Heart Association recommends completing strength training two times a week in order to maintain a healthy heart.
Resistance training will strengthen your muscles and tendons and helps to increase the flexibility of your ligaments, which decreases the risk of them becoming strained or torn. It also allows for your core muscles to stay strong, keeping you standing up easier and able to maintain your balance. The Journal of Physical Therapy and Science published a study that found not only does strength and weight training enhance muscle mass, but it improves stability in the elderly. With falls being the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injury in seniors, this is an impressive finding!
Cardio workouts are known to blast through calories and make your heart stronger, which is something that they definitely do. But strength training allows you to level up that routine and put your weight loss into an even faster fat burning mode. Basically, having more muscle on your body means that you will burn more calories as you go about your day to day life. Muscle tissue can burn up to 15 more calories per day than fat. If you want to add fuel to the proverbial metabolism fire, adding strength training to your regimen could be the key to your success.
You are going to gain confidence not only because you look more toned and stronger, but because you will quickly be able to lift more than you did before. The beautiful thing about strength training is that it is easy to measure your progress. When you start, you may have to begin with five-pound dumbbells for your shoulder raises, but after a few weeks, you can graduate to 7.5 lb, then 10 lb, then 15 lb, and pretty soon you won’t even blink an eye at 20 pounds. That is a huge confidence boost when you remember where you came from.
Oftentimes when we start a new strength exercise, we hope to see immediate results. With strength training, you can feel and see a difference relatively quickly. For some people, after one session of working on biceps, they can feel their muscle pumping out a little more. That little bit of change is enough to get them back to the gym to train more. It could only take a few visits to notice the definition in your body when looking in the mirror, and that can be pretty exciting if you have been focusing only on cardio throughout your fitness journey as those results take much longer to see.
When you are working out, your body produces endorphins, which are the “feel good” hormones. So, your stress diminishes, your mood will lift, and you will start to crave lifting weights.
Some people avoid strength training because they prefer to focus solely on cardio, but strength training can make you faster! By adding workouts like powerlifting and HIIT to your routine, you are strengthening the muscle groups in your body that cardio alone doesn’t quite reach. These workouts will improve your speed and power and make you a better athlete overall.
There is a whole gamut of reasons that strength training is important, but the main goal is to keep you able to carry out day to day tasks on your own for as long as you can. If you want to try strength training with an instructor or coach, head over to a group exercise class or team training session where someone on our team will guide you through a workout, check for form, and can give you advice on how to push yourself further. We have equipment for strength training at all of our locations. So come in and check it out!