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Five reasons to add strength training to your workout

Strength training may commonly be associated with bulking up muscle, but its benefits are more far reaching than just filling out a t-shirt. Incorporating strength training into your work out 2-3 times a week can have excellent benefits for your health.  The list of reasons to add strength training to your workout is long, but we've picked out a few of the more important ones.

It'll help you look good and feel good about yourself

When it comes to burning calories in the minute, cardio is king. However if you’re trying to lose weight and get in shape, don’t discount strength training. You may not burn as many calories doing 30 minutes of strength training when compared to do doing 30 minutes of cardio, but you will still burn a substantial sum1 while also building and maintaining lean muscle. As muscle burns more calories than fat, you'll be giving your metabolic rate (the amount of calories you burn in a day) a huge boost2.

You'll be stronger

This is a no brainer really. Resistance training will inevitably help you to build muscle. And strength is always a bonus - from carrying groceries to small children - your life will be a little easier. But the added strength won't just make lifting things easier; it will also make your body tougher. Those who strength train have been reported to have stronger ligaments and tendons thanks to enhanced collagen production2. This coupled with better musculature means that your body may be less susceptible to injury.

It helps manage pain

Strength training has been shown to improve pain management for a variety of ailments. A study found pain reduction of up to 43% in participants with Osteoarthritis3 and a study in the UK showed similar results for participants who suffered from rheumatoid arthritis4. Other evidence has shown that strength training can improve lower back pain and pain experienced by sufferers of fibromyalgia.

chart

— How often, if at all, do you follow these NHS health guidelines/ recommendations?

Muscle-strengthening activity working all major muscle groups on 2 or more days per week (e.g. weights, push-ups/sit-ups, yoga, heavy gardening).

It prevents Type 2 Diabetes

Exercise is an import aspect of managing and preventing diabetes, and studies have shown just how important it can be. For example one study found that women who completed 150 minutes of strength training per week were 40% less likely to develop diabetes that than those who did not. However combining strength training and cardio had an even better result, with women who completed 150 minutes of aerobic exercise and 60 minutes of strength training being one third as likely to develop diabetes when compared to inactive women5.

It strengthens bones

Bone mass peaks for adults around the age of 30. Following this our bodies begin to absorb more bone than we create, resulting in bone loss. While this is slow at first, as we age this speeds up - particularly for women who can rapidly lose bone mass during menopause. Strength training has been identified by various studies as a good method for strengthening bones and adding density as we age and has been recommended by the National Osteoporosis Society6.

Originally published: 28/04/2015


Sources

  1. http://www.runnersworld.co.uk/news/strength-training-may-burn-more-calories-than-previously-thought/10986.html 
  2. http://www.nhs.uk/livewell/loseweight/pages/how-can-i-speed-up-my-metabolism.aspx
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11469475
  4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1756170/
  5. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/hsph-in-the-news/type-2-diabetes-risk-lowered-with-muscle-training/
  6. https://nos.org.uk/information/healthy-living-and-risk/osteoporosis-exercises/ 
  7. http://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1001587

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