The Importance of Strength Training | Reader's Digest

The Importance of Strength Training

The health benefits of weight lifting go beyond big muscles.

from Stealth Health

When someone in his twenties is described as “strong,” chances are the subject is muscles. Call someone in his sixties “strong,” and chances are the subject is character. Time to change the
perception.

The benefits of strong muscles — particularly for people above 50, and particularly for women — are vast. In fact, in the hierarchy of health pursuits, building stronger muscles is near the very top. Why? Here are just a few reasons:

Strong muscles help you lose weight.And it’s not just the exercise involved to become strong that matters. Muscle tissue burns as much as 15 times more calories per day than does fat tissue — even when at rest! Nothing stokes your metabolism better than muscle.

Strong muscles are healthy for your heart. That’s because they can perform better with less oxygen, meaning the heart doesn’t have to pump hard when you are active. By extension, strong muscles are good for your blood pressure.

Strong muscles protect your joints and your back. More muscle power means you put less strain on joints and connective tissue when lifting or exerting. And that’s awfully important both for treating and preventing arthritis.

Strong muscles improve your looks. Lean muscles are taut against your body, as opposed to flab, which hangs and sags.

Strong muscles give you a mental boost. You feel more energized, and you feel prouder about yourself.

Strong muscles require active living. You can’t get strong muscles from a pill, a meal, or an herb. The mere fact that you have strong muscles means you are being active, and as we have been saying, nothing drags your health down like sedentary living.

Strong muscles help fight free radicals. Research shows that when regular folks lift weights regularly, they have less damage to their body from free radicals than those who are sedentary.

The consensus is growing: Strong muscles are good for everyone. In fact, the American Heart Association now recommends that all adults strength train their major muscle groups at least twice a week. Time for you to get on board.