What goals do you have this week to ensure you’re living a healthy lifestyle? Perhaps you want to pencil in a few runs this week. Maybe you indulged a bit too heavily on the sweets last weekend and you want to prioritize fruits and veggies. Possibly you’d like to spend more time with loved ones, laugh more, or get a few extra hours of sleep.
No matter what your priorities are, we all know that treating our bodies well is key to a long, successful, happy life. In that vein, there’s one activity that we’d like you to try on for size this week: strength training.
It’s easy to get into the same fitness routine week in and week out. Your daily run, yoga class, or cycling routine offers solace within a typically hectic life. However, throwing something new in there every once in a while is key to hitting your fitness goals; your body gets used to your routine and therefore doesn’t enjoy the same benefits as it once did from those same exercises. But lifting weights (or your bodyweight) is intensely beneficial in more ways than one.
If you’ve never picked up a barbell before, don’t fret. Any new fitness routine is a tad intimidating before you try it. Starting off with some smaller weights, particularly in your own home, can get you on the right path to success. Dumbbell-free exercises – like push-ups, burpees, and squats – can also do the trick… no equipment required.
So why exactly should you incorporate strength training into your routine?
- It helps prevent your body from injury. If you’ve avoided lifting weights because you thought you’d hurt yourself, think again. Strength training can actually lessen your chances of injury, as it adds strength to not only your muscles, but your ligaments, tendons, and bones. As you age, adding strength training to your life can also slow the decline of muscle and bone density. This leads to a lower risk of fractures, torn ligaments, pulled muscles – you name it!
- It increases your average metabolic rate, or the rate at which you burn calories during normal daily activities (walking to work, sitting at your desk, grocery shopping, etc.). When you have more muscles in your body, your metabolic rate increases. Lifting weights, therefore, has benefits far beyond the gym itself – that calorie-burning sensation lasts all day!
- It offers a better night’s sleep. While incorporating exercise in your day generally helps you sleep longer and deeper, studies show that adding some strength exercises can truly help you get those zzz’s you crave. Some studies even indicate that it can help with sleep apnea and insomnia.
- It improves your balance and coordination. It turns out that building muscle can help with more than just strength – it also builds flexibility and balance. Whether you’re chasing your kids around, heading to a barre class, or going shopping, having some additional muscle on your body will keep you coordinated, poised, and able to conquer any and all tasks that lay before you.
- It’s beneficial for your brain. Looking to perform more efficiently at work? Hoping to help your teens with their homework? Add some strength training to your day – seriously! Multiple studies have shown that lifting weights is beneficial for your brain and promotes better cognitive function. Blow away your competition at the weight rack – and in an IQ test!
And we haven’t even mentioned: strength training builds muscle, which makes you look stronger, leaner, and more fit overall! It’s a win-win… in so many ways.