Fitness Articles

Learn to Love Strength Training

Improve Your Health and Your Appearance

2.5KSHARES
By Leanne Beattie, Health & Fitness Writer         
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I’ll admit it—I’m vain. So when I put on my summer tank tops a few months ago and noticed the dreaded "batwings" growing on the back of my arms, I panicked. I was too young to have my arms jiggling when I moved! I had to do something, fast—something more productive than hiding behind long-sleeved shirts for the rest of my life. I had to tone up my arms.

An information junkie, I have read about so many strength training routines that I could give Charles Atlas a run for his money. Notice I said read about strength training, not done it. But it was time to face the facts—and time to put my knowledge to work and actually use the dumbbells that were gathering dust under my bed.

So, with my doctor’s approval, I set out to whip my arms (and legs) into shape. Being a real packrat, I also had piles of fitness magazines and printed web pages on the topic. Once I started reading about strength training in more detail, I was amazed at how beneficial a weight routine is to your body—and for your health. I took a few notes so I wouldn’t forget those facts, and posted them around the house to keep me motivated and remind me of my goals.

Whenever I was tempted to drop the weights and grab a cookie instead, this is what I reminded myself: The top 10 reasons everyone should strength train (and LOVE every minute of it):

1. Strength training preserves muscle mass during weight loss.
According to a University of Michigan research study, at least 25% to 30% of weight lost by dieting alone is not fat but lean tissue, muscle, bone and water. However, strength training helps dieters preserve muscle mass while still losing weight.

2. Strength training elevates your metabolism.
Starting in their twenties, most people (especially women) lose half a pound of muscle every year if they aren't strength training to preserve it. After age 60, this rate of loss doubles. But regular strength training can preserve muscle throughout the lifespan, and rebuild the muscle lost.

3. Strength training helps you lose weight more easily (or eat more without gaining weight).
Since muscle is active tissue (unlike fat, which is inert), it requires energy to maintain. The more muscle you have, the more you can eat without gaining weight. Strength training can provide up to a 15% increase in metabolic rate, which is helpful for weight loss and long-term weight control.
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About The Author

Leanne Beattie Leanne Beattie
A freelance writer, marketing consultant and life coach, Leanne often writes about health and nutrition. See all of Leanne's articles.

Member Comments

  • These are all interesting reasons and apply to our family in various ways. For me, I especially seem to get soar shoulders as I get a little "older" and strength training helps keep me in better shape and using them better. - 4/14/2016 2:08:44 PM
  • I really liked the 10 reason to keep going. - 3/13/2016 1:49:01 PM
  • When I first returned to SP I did a challenge that had me strength training 6 days a week alternating between different parts of my body. Since then I have done total body strength exercises 3 times a week - it is just part of my routine and I do see the benefits. I do alternate between weights and resistance bands which are also effective from what I have read. Certainly I feel more fit. I probably should ramp up my ST reps more though to continue to see the benefits. A good article and reminder of why strength training is important, especially to those of us who are older. - 3/13/2016 12:09:46 PM
  • EX-SKINNY60
    Surgery 6 weeks old so back to Leslie Sansome and my 1 1/2 lb gloved weights. Glad to have gotten this wake-up call this morning! - 3/9/2016 11:03:36 AM
  • Right now strength training is my weakest area. Thanks for the motivating article. There are lots of ST here on SparkPeople, no excuses. - 3/9/2016 8:29:14 AM
  • Out of sight, out of mind. When I finally put my set of dumbbells in the living room, right in my line of sight by the TV, I was able to stick to my 3 times per week routine, gradually building up the amount of weight lifted and the length of the workout session. - 3/9/2016 6:23:23 AM
  • I strength train every other day. Sometimes I use a stretchie band, sometimes I use weights. What ever I feel like using. I'm aging. . It's important to strengthen the muscles at any age. - 2/23/2016 8:54:22 AM
  • While reading this article, I was using an exercise band for upper body strengthening ;-). Who says you have to 'just sit' at the computer screen?? ;-) THANKS for the fine reminders of the value of strength training, especially as we 'age wisely'-- this 64 year old is making a new resolution on weight training ;-). - 12/19/2015 7:58:30 PM
  • BUDBUDDHA
    This is an excellent article with some information which I didn't previously know. I am limited to what I can do, but at least I should be able to do some exercises. - 9/12/2015 7:29:44 PM
  • still don't like it! geeze. I have to make myself do it. I hate weighs. Rather use stretchy bands - 9/12/2015 5:48:24 PM
  • Yessss, I just started strength training again a couple weeks ago, and I always love how it gives my body such stability with every thing I do. Spark on sparkers! ):) - 8/18/2015 4:03:22 PM
  • I'm very lax at strength training and I know I need it. Just a note, though. Not everyone can lift more than 5 pounds because of physical limitations and medical problems. To say all women should be lifting 15-20 pounds is wrong. I know that right now I can use no more than 5 pounds, but by starting, I'll be doing something. - 8/16/2015 4:54:01 PM
  • What a great article, I learned so much. Since adding multiple days of strength training each week, my body is leaner and I do sleep better. I am a fan of body weight moves, various resistance bands, and lighter dumb bells...up to ten pounds, annnnnd I love that I can do all of this at home! - 8/16/2015 7:38:13 AM
  • Learning to love strength training is a great help indeed! - 8/15/2015 4:37:29 PM
  • I just started in a gym. I am still learning when enough is enough. I go, then next suffer for 2-3 days with soreness. I seem to get into a state of mind that I get lost. Similar to a runners high.Strange. Right now I have a love-hate relationship with the whole thing. LOL! - 8/15/2015 9:53:44 AM

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