Why Strength Training is Important




Strength training is essential as you age.


Typically around age 35, women’s bodies begin to gradually lose muscle mass. Women who don’t exercise can lose between 3-8% of muscle each decade. Referred to as “Sarcopenia”, this is a natural aging process of women who don’t stay active and is often not known or overlooked.

Benefits of Strength Training Bullet points and imageFor women, strength training can help reverse the effects of the natural aging process by increasing inactivity, increasing healthy bone development, reducing joint pain and lower back pain, and can reverse skeletal muscle aging.1

Men aren’t in the clear either. Men lose about five pounds of muscle mass between the ages of 24 – 50 and can expect to start losing 1% of their muscle mass each year once they hit age 50.2

For men, strength training can help lower blood pressure, reducing risk of heart disease and stroke, can deter bone loss, especially in the hip. Men also tend to gain fat when they lose muscle, which strength training can help offset.2

Strength training has many mental health benefits as well. Studies have shown a strong correlation to reduced stress and anxiety at low-to-moderate intensity. It also helps with improved body image, helping women feel better about themselves.

Now that you know why it’s important, let’s review some common myths about strength training:

#1. I’m too old to strength train

Age, just like the number on the scale, is just that. A number. If you could only do one exercise as you age, strength training would be it for its benefits in reversing muscle loss. Everyone should improve their muscle mass, no matter their age. Be sure to build up to it and make it a part of your routine.

#2. I’ll look bulky

When we think strength training we think “bulk”. It’s just how our minds have been trained. But strength training actually promotes lean muscle mass. Yes, you will gain “weight” but you’ll gain lean muscle, which takes up less space than fat. And remember, a pound is a pound, whether it’s muscle or fat, so although you may not lose weight strength training, you’ll gain (or replace) fat with lean muscle mass giving you an overall leaner look. This is why we don’t focus on weight at Farrell’s, but rather on inches. One pound of fat takes up 18% more of your body than muscle.2 You’ll lose inches because you’re building lean muscle mass and losing body fat, giving you a trimmer physique.

#3. I can’t lift much

Man Strength Training using resistance bandsOur program is specifically designed to not only build lean muscle, but also to confuse the muscles. That’s why we start with low bands and build with classic sets (low band, high reps) until we’ve strengthened those muscles. Then we add in super sets and density sets (high band, low reps). Studies have shown that no matter the weight you’re lifting (high band, low reps or low band, high reps), the outcome is the same – you’re still building muscle mass. Unless you want to be a bodybuilder, the amount of weight isn’t as important as consistent strength training.

#4. Cardio is more important for toning

Cardio is important, but for reasons other than toning. Cardio, or aerobic exercise, is most important for our hearts and reducing the risk of heart disease. If you are overweight, cardio will initially help you lose weight, but without adding lean muscle, you’ll never achieve a toned body. Only doing cardio may also mean losing muscle mass. By adding in strength training to your cardio routine, you’ll build lean muscle, tone up and burn more throughout your day. Check out our recent blog about body fat loss versus weight loss.

 
At Farrell’s, we’ve known the benefits of strength training for a long time, which is why it’s been a pillar of our program in addition to cardio kickboxing and nutrition. Now you know why it’s important to get to class on those strength training days!

 

Sources:
1.  https://www.inbodyusa.com/blogs/inbodyblog/why-every-woman-should-be-strength-training-according-to-science
2. http://www.menshealth.co.uk/building-muscle/get-big/why-every-man-should-lift-weights
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