While the benefits of physical activity have long been studied, it seems we’re learning of a new reason to get our heart rates up and our sweat on every week. The protective power of exercise is unparalleled when it comes to reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, mental health disorders, musculoskeletal injuries and cognitive degeneration.
Strength training, also known as resistance training, involves loading the muscles with an external force, to generate a contraction strong enough to move the load. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, the benefit of strength training is in overloading the muscle and stimulate growth to increase muscular strength.
Unfortunately strength training occasionally lands a bad wrap, particularly for females, connoting it with becoming ‘bulky’, ‘masculine’ or ‘too muscly’. However, this stereotype is far from realistic for regular individuals training for health and fitness and the benefits are far too valuable to omit from your weekly routine.
Fun fact: A study published in the journal ‘Obesity’ in November 17, found a group of exercisers who participated in resistance training solely for 4 sessions a week for 18 months, lost more body fat (18 pounds) than both the aerobic exercisers (16 pounds) and control group (10 pounds). Don’t underestimate the power of strength training!
In addition, increasing cardiorespiratory fitness is the most powerful lifestyle shift that you can make to increase longevity and reduce the risk of disease. Engaging multiple muscle groups, elevating the heart rate, and increasing blood flow are some of the key physiological mechanisms that elicit the wonderful benefits that contribute to a long, healthy life.
The reasons to get your sweat on include:
during exercise and at rest)
A little exercise is better than nothing at all!
Don’t underestimate the value in going for a 15-minute walk in your lunch break, or breaking up long periods of sitting with a short walk around the office, or some walking lunges to increase blood flow to your muscles.
Try this! Every 15 minutes sitting at your desk, jump up and walk up and down the nearest set of stairs. If you don’t have stairs, aim for 10 walking lunges, turn around and do another 10 lunges back – your body will thank you for it!