Have you joined the strength training movement yet? Or are you still stuck doing laps around the track? While cardio is important, running on a treadmill for miles on end is old news. Not only does strength training help you to burn more calories and tone the body, but it also offers some serious benefits to your health.
Strength training refers to exercises that use resistance to build and tone muscle. This can be done using the body’s weight or various tools such as free weights, resistance bands and other gym equipment. One question that keeps popping up surrounding strength training is how much time should you set aside for this style of exercise in your workout routine. The answer? That depends on your fitness goals.
Use strength training to keep your body healthy
Strength training isn’t just about building your muscles, although that is a great way to look and feel your best. When you choose to lift those weights or do those pushups, you’re also getting the bonus of increasing your bone mass. For the aging population, this is great news in the fight against osteoporosis and bone loss. In addition, you will also gain balance and coordination, which means you are less likely to fall or hurt yourself. Strength training just twice per week can affect your bone mass and balance in a positive way, contributing to a healthier and brighter future of movement without fear.
Lose more weight
If your fitness goals include weight loss, you are in luck. Strength training is a fat-burning machine–and since the best way to lose weight is to burn more calories than you consume, you can bet that this is a solid way to weight loss success. The more muscle you build, the more calories you’ll burn as you go about your daily activities or dive into a workout.
Some great methods for weight loss using strength training include HIIT, circuit training and aquatics workouts. These combine the element of strength training with cardio, so you get a full body workout (and burn more calories) in a shorter amount of time. If you want to make weight loss your priority, you should aim for about an hour of strength training 3-5 times per week, depending on the intensity of your workout.
Mix it up to avoid injury
Strength training works because it incorporates more than one type of high-intensity movement. When you get stuck repeating the same movements over and over for the duration of your workout routine (i.e., running), your chance for injury steadily increases. Not only that, it is important to take some days off the high intensity stuff and opt instead for something low impact or focused on stretching.
If you want to help your body to gain more strength and flexibility while changing up your movement style, yoga and Pilates are great workout options to incorporate into your weekly schedule. The breathwork involved will also strengthen your respiratory system and provide you with a time of sweet (and deserved!) relaxation. Hancock Wellness Centers offer group classes with a variety of options and times to choose from.
A word about nutrition
As you add strength training into your weekly fitness rotation, keep in mind that the best way to ensure your vibrant health is to fuel the body with wholesome and highly nutritional foods. If you want to gain muscle, incorporating lean proteins such as fish, poultry, beans, legumes, eggs, and dairy such as Greek yogurt into your diet makes for optimal results. Pair it with some whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds and you’ve got an abundance of choices to further your well-being.
Strength training has practical benefits–but it can also be fun to do something new and challenge your body in different ways. Find different muscle groups to target, push yourself to reach evolving fitness goals, and enjoy a plethora of group classes with the Hancock Wellness Centers. Whether you decide to use strength training once a week or more, you will reap the benefits of this dynamic fitness style.