Strength training is a key part of building larger and stronger muscles, but even if maximizing your biceps or obtaining the six-pack that everyone envies is not your main objective, you can still greatly benefit from it. A plethora of people are under the misconception that they should only perform strength training exercises if they would like to look like a bodybuilder. Instead, they rely on aerobics and wonder why they are having issues making any noteworthy improvements to their health. Strength training with free weights, weight machines, and resistance bands certainly helps to build and maintain mass and overall strength, but it also has many other health benefits. So without further ado, here are a few benefits of strength training that have absolutely nothing to do with muscle size.
Strength Training Lowers Abdominal Fat
Did you know that strength training is actually more effective at preventing increases in abdominal fat than cardiovascular exercise? When people integrate strength training into their exercise routine on a regular basis, they burn calories and increase lean muscle mass, which stimulates their metabolism. In fact, muscle mass is actually one of the major positive components that determines the number of calories that your body burns per day in order to sustain physiologic functions. This is also referred to as the metabolic rate.
Strength Training Provides Better Cardiovascular Health
Your abdominal fat, also known as visceral fat, sits in and around your vital organs. This includes your heart. Reducing and preventing excessive abdominal fat by taking part in a strength-training program will absolutely improve your heart health. In addition, strength training also has a direct positive impact on your heart. People that strength train on a regular basis typically have significantly better HDL, or good cholesterol, levels. In essence, strength training improves triglyceride levels and blood pressure in a similar manner to cardiovascular exercise. However, it has even greater benefits on HDL levels.
Strength Training Controls Blood Sugar Levels
In addition to building and maintaining muscle, strength training also greatly improves the muscle’s ability to take in and use glucose, which is also known as blood sugar. Contained within the cells of your muscles, there are transporters that pick up glucose (sugar) from the blood and delivers it to the muscle cells. In essence, strength training vastly improves their function to pick up significantly more glucose from both the blood and the muscle. This in turn decreases blood sugar levels.
Strength Boosts Brain Health
One of the most important aspects of strength training is the fact that it can help to improve your brainpower across your lifetime. That being stated, the effects typically are most utilized in older adults that are suffering from cognitive decline. For example, a recent study concluded that strength training is far more effective for cognitive brain function than performing stretching exercises. The key may very well be getting the blood flowing. High intensity strength training increase the flow of blood, and other nutrients to the brain.
Strength Training Improves Mental Health
Many people are unaware that strength training vastly improves symptoms of anxiety and clinical depression. Exercise triggered endorphins certainly play a role, much like a runner’s high, however strength training also provides a great opportunity to overcome obstacles in a controlled and predictable environment. In essence, strength training increases mental resiliency. For the greatest anti-anxiety effects, incorporate the use of low to moderate weights that are lighter than 70 percent of the amount of weight you can typically life for one rep.
In conclusion, it is incredibly important for both your body and your brain to partake in strength training on a regular basis. We are happy to answer any questions that you may have about cardio exercises, weight lifting, eating properly, and taking the proper nutritional supplements. Wucely St. Fleur will help you crush your fitness goals, as well as your nutritional and overall wellness objectives. Give us a call today to get started on the path to better health.
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