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Want to Lose Weight? Why You Should Start Strength Training Now

Tired of seeing the same old weight loss tips? We've got some news that might help. A new study in the journal Gerontology is shining a spotlight on another secret to weight loss: strength training.

The research, which was conducted by scientists at the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg, Germany, investigated data for more than 3 million people living in 19 countries including France, the USA, and China. What they found was an amazing correlation between strength training and improved health amongst midlife women.

Strength Training Positively Impacts Longevity

People who did regular muscle-strengthening exercises were 21 percent less likely to die from any cause over the following decade, regardless of their age and how much aerobic exercise they also did. This number jumped up to 33 percent for women in their fifties.

The science behind why is complex, but it appears to boil down to providing the body with something constructive to do with its unused calories. Lifting weight challenges the body to retain muscle strength and size that it already has, as well as adding more if necessary. The energy for this may come from stored fat, sugar, or any additional calories consumed through diet. Muscle burning calories for up to 24 hours after exercise is only the start of a long journey.

The metabolic giver is a new muscle, which continues to provide after it has been established. The muscle is brimming with mitochondria, the cellular factory-like components that convert glucose into energy. Even at rest, having more muscle on board allows the body to operate more factories and burn additional calories because it has extra factories to run.

Strength Training Reduces Obesity

In a study published in June, researchers at Iowa State University reviewed health records for 12,000 mostly middle-aged people and discovered that two or more sessions of weight-training a week were enough to lower the chance of obesity by 20 to 30 percent over two decades, even for individuals who didn't perform any aerobics. Even just one or two hours each week was significantly beneficial, reducing the risk of obesity by 30-40%. Other benefits include lowered blood cholesterol, inflammation, and blood pressure as well as a decreased risk of diabetes and heart disease.

That's huge! With strength training, you not only get stronger muscles, tendons, and joints but you also increase your metabolism over time. So strength training is the perfect exercise to help with weight loss.

But the benefits don't end there. Regular strength training does more than just help with weight loss. Strength training can:

  • Prevent osteoporosis and the bone loss that comes with aging;

  • Improve strength and balance, which is key to preventing falls;

  • Lower your risk of cardiovascular disease (this is especially good news as heart disease is the leading cause of death for midlife women);

  • Help you sleep better;

  • Increase self-confidence and improve quality of life;

  • Reduce stress levels

  • Improve immune function and help fight chronic illness

The Slow Burn | Strength Training Increases the Calories Burned After the Workout

According to research, weight training increases your metabolic rate, meaning you continue to burn calories for hours afterward. In fact, studies have shown that your metabolic rate can stay elevated for up to 72 hours after a workout

Strength Training Improves Mental and Cognitive Function

The brain benefits, too. Higher levels of overall strength are linked to better performance on tests of cognitive abilities such as memory and decision-making. It also appears to preserve the brain's health for longer.

This, like other kinds of exercise, is probably due to a variety of growth chemicals being released into the brain, which contributes to the formation of new neurons and connections. However, there may be something else at play that is particularly relevant to the value of weights.

When we engage in resistance training and put weight on our bones, they secrete a hormone called osteocalcin into circulation, where it binds to the hippocampus, a crucial memory-related region of the brain. Studies show that osteocalcin is significant for memory, particularly as we age. From mid-life onwards, osteocalcin levels start to drop off, making weight-bearing exercise all the more essential to safeguard the brain.

It's Never too Late to Start Strength Training

If you haven't strength trained before, don't worry! Whether you're a strength training newbie or looking to enhance your strength routine, we've got some workouts that will get you started on the road to strength:

If this isn't enough motivation to start strength training today, we don't know what is! Over 60% of the population neglects strength training. This is almost double the number of people who do no cardiovascular exercise at all.

Strength Training Rules to Live By

Now that you know why strength training is important, read on for some strength training rules to live by!

The National Academy of Sports Medicine recommends the following guidelines for beginners.

  • Start slow and gradually increase the intensity of your workouts. This will help alleviate excessive soreness when you begin a resistance training program and prepare your body for more intense workouts down the road.

  • Never strength train the same body part on consecutive days. Give your muscles at least 24-48 hours rest between workouts.

  • Always maintain proper form and technique. If the weight is too heavy to lift correctly, opt for a lighter weight. You will get better results and greatly reduce your chances of injury.

  • The last few repetitions should be difficult to lift while maintaining proper form. For example, if you chose to perform 12 repetitions then reps 11 and 12 should feel rather heavy. If the weight is easy to lift you’re not adequately challenging your muscles.

  • Ask a certified personal trainer for assistance if you need help learning how to use free weights or strength-training machines.

  • Stop if you feel pain during an exercise.

  • When starting out, perform strength-training workouts twice a week targeting every major muscle group. As your fitness improves the frequency and volume of your workouts can increase.

  • Don’t forget to breathe; avoid holding your breath. This can cause dizziness, fainting, and raise your blood pressure.

Ready to Get Started?

So, if you’re looking to lose weight, age well, and feel better mentally and physically, start strength training today. You don’t need any fancy equipment or a lot of time; just 30 minutes three times a week will do the trick. And if you’re not quite sure where to start, we can help. Vida Fitt is passionate about helping women achieve their health and fitness goals, so click the link below to schedule your free intro session with us. We can’t wait to help you reach your full potential!

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