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Articles > Weight Training > Benefits of Strength Training
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Current research is showing that strength training is not just for the bodybuilder, athlete or exercise enthusiast, but is important for all populations to maintain quality and liveliness during a lifetime. Strength training is exercise that uses resistance for example, weights to strengthen and condition the musculoskeletal system, improving muscle tone and endurance. "Strength-training" is used as a general term synonymous with other common terms: "weightlifting" and "resistance training." Physiologically, the benefits of consistent strength training include an increase in muscle size and tone, increased muscle strength, and increases in tendon, bone, and ligament strength. Strength training has also been shown to improve psychological health as well, by increasing self-esteem, confidence and self-worth.

These improvements have a great influence on our physical performance, metabolic efficiency, physical appearance and risk of injury. Research has shown that strength training will...

Increase Lean Body Mass
Most adults do not perform strength exercise; therefore they need to replace the muscle tissue that has been lost through inactivity. Fortunately, research shows that a standard strength-training program can increase muscle mass by about 1.4kg over an eight-week training period. This is the typical training response for men who do 30 minutes of strength exercise one day each week.

Reduce Body Fat
Once your metabolic rate increase with an increase in or a replacement of, lean muscle mass, your daily energy spending will also increase due to your higher metabolic rate. More muscle means more fat burnt. Muscle is small, lean and hard, fat is soft, lumpy and twice as big as muscle at the same weight!! If you want to burn fat faster and have a lean, tight body, you MUST lift weights!!

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Increased Functional Strength, Increased Power and Sporting Performance
If the muscles of the body are progressively overloaded with weights, in a functional manner, they will be stronger and therefore be more capable to perform daily activities with less effect. As the strength of a muscle increases, its capacity to exert power is enhanced. There is a relationship between muscle strength and power. Considering sporting performance is largely dependent on power development and the rate of force production, strength training will enhance sporting performance. A stronger more powerful muscle will use less effort to do the same task or it will be capable of doing the same task faster and harder!!

Increased Metabolic Rate
Your metabolic rate will slow down with age because you are losing muscle tissue- but only if you don't strength train!! People who don't strength train will lose muscle tissue, move less and have a metabolism that slows down by as much as 2% per decade, some people who are very inactive, as much as ½ a percent per year!! Heavy strength training programs have been shown to increase resting metabolic rate up to 2% in as little as ten weeks of training. No strength training- slows down your metabolism. Strength train and you will speed up your metabolism.

Increase Vitality and Quality of Life
Muscles are like the engine in your car. If you keep it in good condition you can drive it regularly and vigorously without it breaking down. If your muscles are kept in good condition-strong, tight and toned, you will be able to run, jump and play with ease for a lot longer and without worrying about running out of energy or injuring yourself.

Feeling Better and Looking Better
As painful as strength training can sometimes feel, there is nothing more satisfying than the feeling after a good solid workout. Stronger muscles and joints can have a dramatic impact on posture and leaner toned muscles tend to make everyone feel better about their appearance. This all leads to improved self-esteem and increased self-confidence.

Decrease Blood Pressure
Current research from University of Florida has shown that strength training will significantly reduce blood pressure reducing the chances of hypertension and risk of coronary heart disease. Acute changes in blood pressure from strength training are no higher than the increases in blood pressure from cardio-vascular training except that cardio-vascular training elevates blood pressure for a longer period of time. If the muscles are functionally stronger, there is less stress placed on the cardio-vascular system whilst performing all activities.

Increase Joint Strength /Stability and Improved Posture
Joint strength and stability is dependent upon the muscles ability to control the two adjoining bones in their correct position during normal posture and movement. Increase your functional strength and you will improve your body's posture at rest and during movement. This means a body that is more efficient at everyday tasks, it will perform better and the stresses placed on the body's structures will be reduced. Strong muscles will hold your posture in place!!

Decreased Risk of Injury/Quicker Rehabilitation from injury
Strength training will make your muscles stronger and increase their ability to support and protect the body. Strong muscle will also enhance the recovery of the body following injury and strength training plays a vital role in the functional rehabilitation process used by leading rehabilitation therapists. The more functional strength around a joint, the less stress the joint experiences during recovery from an injury, therefore decreasing rehabilitation time. Initial rehabilitation with a physiotherapist is to regain full range of movement, decrease inflammation and regain normal muscular control. Strong muscles protect your body from injury! After injury, strong muscles recover quicker!

Aging Gracefully
There is no more important reason to making a strength training a consistent part of your life, than to ensure you age gracefully. Physical activity keeps us alive and vibrant. Strength training ensures we are strong enough to participate in aerobic activities, outdoor recreation, and sports. Strong seniors fall down less. If they do fall down, their stronger bodies are more resilient, are injured less by the fall, and are able to heal more quickly after an injury.

Decrease the Risk of Arthritis
Strength training enhances the functional control of the body's joints and therefore decreases the daily stresses through those joints; there is a less likelihood of degeneration of the joints. Functional strength will therefore decrease the chance of osteo-arthritis and the degeneration of joints and the research is showing strength training plays a major role in the reduction of pain symptoms of arthritis. Strength train to reduce the risk of arthritis! Strength train if you have arthritis to help reduce the pain!!

 

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