5 Reasons to Lift Weights5 Reasons You should be Strength Training

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If strength training isn’t included in your exercise routine, you’re missing out on countless benefits. Here are 5 reasons to pick up the iron:


1. Increased Metabolism Increased Metabolism

An increased metabolism is just one of the few benefits you’ll notice from strength training. Muscle is one of the most metabolically-active tissues in the body so increasing your muscle mass will directly increase your metabolism. It has been proven time and time again that properly performed high intensity strength training stimulates the development of muscle mass.

Additionally, muscle tissue has been observed to burn roughly 7 to 10 calories per pound per day, compared to 2 calories per pound per day for fat1. Not only does increasing your metabolism help you to burn more calories, but it will help you maintain a healthy body weight as well.



Improved Body Composition2. Improved Body Composition

Strength training also improves body composition which is used to describe the percentages of fat or fat-free mass in the body. Because of differences in body composition, two people at the same height and the same weight may look completely different.

An unhealthy body composition dramatically increases your risk for weight-related health issues such as diabetes and heart disease, as stated by the American Council on Exercise2. However, a healthy body composition increases your metabolism, enhances your appearance, and supports your overall health.

3. Maintained Muscle during Deficiency/Aging Aging Fitness

Usually when you’re attempting to lose weight you’re also on a restricted diet. A calorie restricted diet puts your body in a calorie deficient state in order to use stored fat as energy. The issue is if you’re not strength training, you’re losing muscle. According to the American Council on Exercise3, if you diet without exercise, for every one pound your weight on the scale decreases, 25 percent comes from lean tissue. An extreme example of this is crash dieting.

Not only are your results temporary, but you’ve slowed your metabolism down in the process putting your further away from your goals! As most are aware, with aging comes a general decline in many hormones which results in a loss of muscle and bone mass. According to the National Academy of Sports Medicine4, after the age 35, you will lose between .5% - 1% percent of your muscle mass annually unless you engage in regular physical activity to prevent it. However, by engaging in regular resistance training and following a sound diet that includes adequate amounts of protein, you can prevent most of the muscle loss associated with age.



4. Post Workout ExpenditurePost Workout Expenditure

After weight training, the body continues to need oxygen at a higher rate than before the exercise began. This is known as excess post exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC). Research indicates that resistance weight training and EPOC has noted a relationship between exercise intensity and elevated metabolic rate.

As weight lifting intensity increases, the EPOC duration also increases. In a 1992 Purdue study, results showed that high intensity, anaerobic type exercise resulted in a significantly greater magnitude of EPOC than aerobic exercise of equal work output5. Also, studies have found measurable EPOC effects existed up to the 38 hour post-exercise mark6. What does all that mean? The more intense your weight lifting session the longer you’ll burn calories post workout so hit the weights hard.


Glucose Metabolism5. Improved glucose absorption

Hyperglycemia, high blood sugar, is a major cause of complications with diabetes. Diabetes increases your risk for many serious health problems such as eye, foot, and skin complications, heart disease, and high blood pressure.

Strength training can help prevent and manage diabetes by improving insulin sensitivity and glucose absorption7. During weight training your muscles are emptied of stored sugar (glycogen), which allows them to absorb sugar (glucose) from the bloodstream, thereby lowering blood sugar.

However, diabetics should use caution should because blood sugar levels during or after exercise can drop dangerously low.

These aren’t the only 5 benefits you’ll receive from strength training, but they should be enough to convince you to add strength training into your routine if you aren’t already.


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Disclaimer: Before you begin any exercise program, and before you follow any of the advice, instructions, or any other recommendations in this article, you should first consult with your doctor and have a physical examination.

1 ^Dr. Cedric X. Bryant, ACE's Chief Science Officer; ACE FitnessMatters, Mar/Apr 2006.
2 ^American Council on Exercise; What Are the Guidelines for Percentage of Body Fat Loss? ; Natalie Digate Muth; December 2, 2011
3 ^"American Council on Exercise Personal Trainer Manual;" American Council on Exercise; 2003
4 ^"NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training;" National Academy of Sports Medicine; 2007
5 ^ Schmidt, Wilfred Daniel (1992). The effects of aerobic and anaerobic exercise on resting metabolic rate, thermic effect of a meal, and excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. Ph.D. dissertation, Purdue University, United States -- Indiana. Retrieved March 30, 2011, from Dissertations & Theses: Full Text. (Publication No. AAT 9301378).
6 ^ Schuenke MD, Mikat RP, McBride JM (March 2002). "Effect of an acute period of resistance exercise on excess post-exercise oxygen consumption: implications for body mass management". European Journal of Applied Physiology 86 (5): 411–7. doi:10.1007/s00421-001-0568-y. PMID 11882927.
7 ^ Soukup, J. et al. 1994. "Resistance training Guidelines For Individuals With Diabetes Mellitus."
The Diabetic Educator 20:129-37.


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