By Kathy Smith
Strength training is an integral part of a well-rounded exercise program, and is recommended for all ages, including kids and seniors.
Many still make the mistake of equating weight training with "bulking up."
Please understand that strength training is not just about "looking good."
It's also an important part of maintaining a healthy weight, strengthening your bones, and improving your body's posture, range of motion and functionality..
But that's just the beginning … below are 10 more reasons why strength training should be a regular part of your workout routine.
10 Reasons to Add Strength Training to Your Workouts
10. Last time you tried to open a jar of olives you gave up and settled for a box of crackers. Why?
You're losing it, baby!
When it comes to muscle mass, we all experience a scary little process I call "The Great Decline."
Every decade we lose muscle mass, and as we age the percentage of loss just keeps accelerating. By age 60, the average person will have lost one-third of his/her muscle mass.
The good news: you can reverse it with resistance training. There's no age limit on your ability to add muscle and stop The Great Decline.
9. The phrase "Sitting AROUND the house" has more than one meaning -- and you'd like to avoid one of them.
If you're reading this article, chances are you're interested in maintaining or losing weight. Too many people try to drop inches with diet alone, or by walking endlessly on the treadmill. My DVD 2-pack title says it all: Lift Weights to Lose Weight.
Here's the bottom line: a pound of muscle burns 35 to 50 calories a day, just by sitting there on your body. A pound of fat? It burns about 3 to 5 calories a day.
8. Your idea of "getting dairy in your diet for calcium" is a pint of Ben & Jerry's ... so it's time to bone up.
In your 30's, bone mass generally reaches its maximum level of growth. Then, in your 40's, it's another decline: your bone mass starts gradually decreasing. Once again, dumbbells save the day, as strength training maintains or even increases bone mass as you age.
7. Last time you slipped in the shower, you almost reenacted the "I've fallen and I can't get up" commercial.
Poor balance and lack of muscular strength can result in falls, leading to fractures, broken bones, and worse. When performed properly, strengthening exercises increase flexibility and balance -- so you can stay on your toes.
6. Heart disease is sooooo 2007.
Heart disease risk is lower when your body is lean. The American Heart Association recommends strength training as a way to reduce risk of heart disease -- it helps you lose visceral fat, the most dangerous type of fat when it comes to cardiovascular health.
5. For you, the idea of offering a piggy-back ride to a child is as horrifying as the latest Saw sequel.
Got back pain or posture issues? The best non-surgical alternative for remedying back problems is strength training. A strong core supports your lower back and protects you from injury, and strong back muscles contribute to good posture.
The bonus: good posture naturally makes your abdomen look flatter.
4. Bladder-control issues bring back painful schoolyard memories.
Muscular agility is proven to help prevent incontinence. Moving on.
3. Psssst ... There are wild rumors going around that better sex can be ENJOYABLE. But you didn't hear it from me. Shhhh …
Resistance training is a must when it comes to reshaping your body, targeting "trouble spots," and transforming your figure into a younger, fitter, and, yes, sexier you. Not only does it help you improve your state of mind and ensure that you look terrific in a bathing suit ... but building muscle actually improves sexual function. (Before you run away from the computer to pick up your dumbbells, hang tight. We're almost finished here.)
2. Lifting a bag of groceries doesn't have to be the greatest achievement of your day. Let's aim a little higher with our goals, shall we?
Nothing trains your body to perform functional movement for everyday living (bending, twisting, lifting, and reaching) like strength training. My Lift Weights to Lose Weight 2-pack gives you the best of both worlds: a fat-burning, muscle-toning workout for beginners and seasoned pros, with an added "twist" of core-strengthening exercises that improve your body's balance and functional abilities.
1. I said so!
OK, all jokes aside ... Don't start your resistance training routine just because I told you to. Do it because you need to start building muscle now -- for all the reasons I just mentioned. Do it because muscle is about better coordination, agility and balance. Do it because muscle is about staying active and empowering yourself to enjoy life on a fuller level, from the boardroom to the bedroom.
Do it because muscle revolutionizes your metabolism, transforms your body from the inside out, and is your best bet for reversing the aging process. In short, do it because muscle is about all the things you associate with youth -- and the clock is ticking for each and every one of us.
About the Author
Kathy has stood at the forefront of the fitness and health industries for more than thirty years with a collection of books, videos, audios and DVD's on walking, cardiovascular health, nutrition, strength training, yoga, Pilates, menopause, dance, and all-things-exercise.
As President of Kathy Smith Lifestyles, she has sold over $500 million in lifestyle products and fitness equipment. In addition to her DVD library, Kathy is an accomplished author, with bestselling titles including "Feed Muscle Shrink Fat Diet" and "Moving Through Menopause". She has also contributed her expertise on health and wellness to countless media outlets, including the LA Times, USA Today, The Today Show, Oprah, The View, Larry King Live, and many more. Smith recently launched Ageless with Kathy Smith, a new age-fighting DVD workout line with award-winning producer Acacia. The first workout, Staying Strong, was released in May 2011, with Total Body Turnaround coming out nationwide in November 2011.
Kathy has teamed up with Pivotal 5, the industry trendsetter in hand held fitness, to successfully launch two lines of products. In 2009, Kathy Smith partnered with Rejuvenation Prevention + Rehabilitation™ to create a line of seven products targeting the "Actively Ageless". These products pioneered the category of fitness over forty targeting key areas of interest including toning and firming to balance and mobility. Each item comes complete with DVD featuring Kathy Smith's uniquely designed workouts targeting total body fitness and overall wellness. In 2010, Smith helped develop the Kathy Smith Healthy Living brand exclusively for Ross Dress for Less® stores. This exclusive brand promotes the active living across all fitness levels with the Healthy Living System to guide customers to the correct equipment based on their fitness goals.
Kathy can be reached at KathySmith.com.