Strength training IS important!
Everyone knows that exercise is good for you. More and more people are opting to take the stairs at work, attending classes like Zumba or Jazzercise, or signing up for team sports. Good for us, right? Incorporating physical activity into your daily routine is one of the keys to optimal health and wellness. But there is another huge component that many people, especially women, miss. Strength training!
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, only 21% of women strength train 2-3 times a week. Apparently, the majority of women haven't read this blog yet, right?
So, tell us, Motivational Mom, why is strength training so important?
1. No More Jiggling!
I remember a time when my thighs and butt bounced around as I walked, my upper arms looked a lot like cabbage rolls, and my poor stomach was so stretched out from having 3 kids that I thought it would never return to it's original shape. After incorporating strength training into my routine, that is not the case. As many of you have seen, the muscle pose is one of my favorites. Why? Because it showcases all the hard work I put in at the gym, of course...
2. Stronger Bones!
By the time you are 18, all the bone mineral density you'll ever have has been established. That is, unless you strength train. Research has found that weight training can increase bone mineral density in your spine by 13% in a matter of 6 months. Don't want to be a hunched over old lady? This seems like a great way to ward off osteoporosis.
3. Burn More Calories While Watching TV!
As you add muscle from strength training, your resting metabolism will rise. Basically, you'll burn more calories all day long. And, yes, that includes watching TV. For each pound of muscle you gain, you'll burn 35 to 50 more calories daily. As an example, if you gain 3 pounds of muscle and burn 40 extra calories for each pound, you'll burn 120 more calories per day, or approximately 3,600 more calories per month. That equates to a loss of 10 to 12 pounds in one year! Not too shabby, eh?
4. Target Your Trouble Spots!
Have you tried to ditch the saddlebags and ended up losing your chest instead? Frustrating, isn't it? Clearly, where you lose is as important as how much you lose. As great as it might be to see the numbers on the scale go down, when you're on a strict cardio-only program your victory is likely to be empty. A recent study at the University of Alabama at Birmingham compared dieters who lifted three times a week with those who did aerobic exercise for the same amount of time. Both groups ate the same number of calories, and both lost the same amount—26 pounds—but the lifters lost pure chub, while about 8 percent of the aerobicizers' drop came from valuable muscle. Researchers have also found that lifting weights is better than cardio at whittling intra-abdominal fat—the Buddha-belly kind that's associated with diseases from diabetes to cancer.
Truly, I could go on and on all day about the benefits of strength training but if I continue, I'll be late for my appointment at the gym. And, if you are wondering, YES, I will be pumping iron in addition to my cardio routine!