By Samantha Clayton, Senior Director, Sports Performance & Fitness for Herbalife
Working on muscular strength and endurance can help you to achieve many goals related to health, fitness and weight loss.
Whether you’re trying to lose weight, gain muscle or maintain your current body composition, strength training can help you achieve your goals, while also improving the way you feel. Additional benefits associated with strength training include:
When your overall body mass consists of more lean muscle, your body burns more energy in sustaining that muscle. That’s because muscle is more metabolically active than fat tissue, and the subsequent rise in your metabolic rate – both resting and while active – can help you burn a more calories each, even while at rest. However, the benefits of more lean muscle mass goes far beyond the kilojoule burn, as you also increase your strength and reduce your risk of injury.
Better body composition
Strength training, when supported by an adequate protein intake in the diet, can help to prevent or minimise the loss of lean body mass that is typically associated with dieting for weight loss. Quite often when people cut their daily kilojoule intake to lose weight, the weight lost is not always healthy or sustainable. When people are dieting without exercise, they often lose both muscle and fat tissue. This can play havoc with your body weight and metabolism over the long term.
Strength training can favourably alter your overall body composition and aesthetics, resulting in a greater proportion of lean muscle tissue relative to fat mass. This can greatly enhance your overall appearance and reduce your dress size. Muscle takes up less space in the body per pound than fat, so having more lean muscle can make you look and feel great.
Although strength training does not actually tighten the skin, it can improve your skin’s appearance, especially if you’ve lost a lot of body weight and/or fat and are suffering from loose skin as a result. When you lose fat and build muscle, the appearance of loose and sagging skin can be greatly improved.
Strength training can help to counteract natural age-related muscle loss, known as sarcopenia. Losing muscle mass as we age is a natural part of the ageing process, in the same way that we naturally lose bone density. If you continue to strength train as you age, you can mitigate this loss to some degree. And the good news is that it’s never too late to get started. Even if you’ve already lost muscle mass as part of the ageing process, you can start to train and rebuild it at any age.
Improved functional strength
The training adaptations that happen in the body as a result of strength training can greatly enhance the activities of daily living, such as lifting, standing, walking and enjoying simple activities. If you love to play sports, strength training can also help to improve your overall performance.
Training for strength does not only mean lifting weights, though. You can improve your strength with bodyweight exercises, resistance bands or objects that you have around the house, such as water bottles. Women often believe that strength training means getting heavier and looking bulky, but that’s not a true reflection of the process.