Strength training has many benefits and it may be something we want to incorporate into our exercise regime, but we're not quite sure if we should join a gym and use the machines or do our own free weights at home. I do not think the 'where' really matters as much as just doing it. Again, with all exercise, it must be something that fits with our lifestyle.
Let's talk about the benefits first – why we'd even want to add something else to our already harried lifestyle.
- Reduced Risk of Osteoporosis. Need I say more? When you lift weights, you increase your bone density so the less likely you will be to develop osteoporosis.
- Reduced Risk of Injury and Faster Rehabilitation. Due to the increase in bone density and strengthening of bones, the chance of breaking a bone decreases. Ligaments and tendons are also strengthened, and stronger muscles help in all capacities in your daily life while reducing the risk of an accident. Our balance also improves which again increases injury prevention. And if we do have an injury, the best way to recover is to build that strength back up around the injured area, or in other words strength training.
- Higher Metabolism. When we increase our muscle mass – substituting fat for muscle – our metabolism naturally increases so it's easier to maintain our ideal weight. Therefore, even hours after a work-out, our metabolism will be elevated, allowing us to burn calories both before and after strength training.
- Sculpting Tool. As women, we all know where our problem areas are – a main one being belly fat. Resistance training has been shown to burn more belly fat. This can be applied to any problem areas of the body – there are set exercises to help sculpt particular muscle groups.
- Reduces the Risk of Coronary Heart Disease. When we're lifting weights, our cholesterol levels and blood pressure can decrease.
- A Tool to Enhance Your Life. We become more flexible and agile so carrying children or certain sports will not be hindered by a lack of strength. You'll feel younger with greater stamina and energy and life will be filled with experiences to explore. What's that old saying? We're as young as we feel.
So now we see the clear benefits of strength training and we're ready to get going. This should be something we try and maintain on a regular basis, but to do so it must fit with our personal tastes and lifestyle. There are really two main options. Buy a set of dumbbells or resistance elastics and work-out at home, or go to the gym and use the equipment specifically designed to help build muscle. There are books and programs out there on both subjects to help tailor to you. And it's never too late to start! So go do your homework and start reaping the rewards of strength training whatever stage of life you're in.