Have you starting lifting weights yet? As a reformed cardio junkie, I have learned that a little strength training goes a long way. Weight training just twice a week is all it takes to help change your body inside and out. If you still need some convincing, here are seven reasons to get pumped up about strength training.
- Helps You Lose Inches - We all tend to think of cardio as the calorie torcher and the necessary exercise for losing weight. Remember, though, it is better to lose inches and gain muscle than to simply lose pounds. Lifting twice a week can reduce your overall body fat by three percent in just 10 weeks. This is because muscle tissue requires more energy to simply exist than other tissues like fat, so muscle burns more calories.
- Strengthens Your Bones Too - Lifting weights not only builds muscles, it makes for stronger bones too. Regular weight lifting for six months has been shown to increase bone mineral density by 13 percent. So add strength training to your arsenal of weapons against osteoporosis.
- Weight Lifting Improves Your Mood - Not only does strength training give you confidence, it can also reduce your risk of depression. A small Harvard study found that 10 weeks of regular strength training reduced clinical depression symptoms at a level on par with standard counseling. So pick up some dumbbells for a pick-me-up.
- The Caloric After Burn - One of the benefits of weight training is the after burn - burning calories as your body recovers from your workout. After an hour-long session of lifting weights, the average woman burns an extra 100 calories over the next 24 hours. Those extra calories add up. Think about it: if you weight train three times a week, that is an extra 300 calories per week and an extra 1,200 calories per month. Over the course of a year, that equals almost four and a half pounds lost - close to that magic number of five pounds most women I know say they would like to lose.
- Muscle Mass Fights Diabetes - The rate of type 2 diabetes continues to climb in this country, and one way to combat the disease is to build muscle. Muscle mass not only burns more calories a day than most other tissues; it also dispels the blood sugar quickly. Muscles effectively contribute to preventing type 2 diabetes.
- More Bang For Your Buck -There are many ladies out there who fear they will bulk up if they lift heavy weights and many trainers who perpetuate the myth. There is another reason, aside from saving time, for lifting closer to your maximum weight load instead of doing 100 reps with a super light weight: increase calorie burn for two hours after training. Lifting a greater weight fewer times means you can burn almost twice as many calories post workout. Think of it as more bang for your buck.
- Makes You Stronger - I know this one is obvious, but strength training has daily practical applications in lifting heavy things. The stronger you are, the longer and more intensely you can workout. Increasing your strength also makes you less prone to injury, another important thing for an active gal.
- How Often Do You Strength Train? - Take our poll here.
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