I am a reformed cardio bunny. I loved getting as sweaty as possible through running, burpees, jumping jacks….I never found a cardio exercise I didn’t love doing!
However I started incorporating strength training 3x a week with heavier weights (I started at 5lb dumbbells and now consistently use 15lb dumbbells!) and I’ve never been healthier, leaner or more ripped!
Here are the 5 reasons why I highly recommend you add strength training to your workout regimen:
1. Preserving Lean Muscle Mass
One of the most significant benefits of strength training is its ability to preserve and even increase lean muscle mass. This is particularly crucial for women, as muscle mass tends to decrease with age and age related hormone decline.
2. Boosting Metabolism
Metabolism tends to slow down with age, leading to potential weight gain. Strength training can help counteract this by increasing resting metabolic rate. This means that even at rest, your body will burn more calories, making it easier to maintain a healthy weight and body composition.
3. Improving Bone Density
Osteoporosis, a condition characterized by fragile bones, is more common in women, especially post-menopause. Strength training has been shown to increase bone density, reducing the risk of fractures and maintaining overall bone health. This is crucial for maintaining an independent and active lifestyle as we age.
4. Enhancing Joint Health
Strength training not only strengthens muscles but also supports the joints. This can help prevent or alleviate joint pain and stiffness, which is particularly important for women over 30 who may be experiencing the early signs of age-related joint issues.
5. Balancing Hormones
Strength training can also have positive effects on hormonal balance. It can help regulate insulin levels, improve cortisol response, increase the production of endorphins, and increase production of Estrogen, Progesterone and Testosterone. On the other hand, solely participating in cardiovascular exercise can lead to an increase in cortisol, muscle breakdown and a decline in your sex hormone production.
Starting a Strength Training program can be daunting and I have a few tips for you to get you on the right track!
1. Find a Professional
Before starting any new exercise regimen, especially strength training, it's essential to consult with a fitness professional or healthcare provider. They can provide guidance on the best exercises for your specific needs and ensure that you're using proper form to prevent injuries. I always say, form over everything else! Not only does it ensure you don’t get hurt, you also will get the max benefit from the exercise and get stronger and leaner faster with better form.
2. Gradual Progression
Begin with lighter weights and gradually increase the intensity as your strength improves. This approach not only prevents overexertion but also allows your body to adapt and build strength over time. Progressive Overload is a KEY component of any strength training program. Your body must always be adapting to prevent a plateau
3. Variety is Key
Incorporate a variety of exercises to target different muscle groups and make sure you are moving in different planes. This ensures a well-rounded strength training program that benefits your entire body!
4. Consistency is Crucial
Consistency is key to seeing results. Aim for regular strength training sessions, ideally at least three times per week.
If you are like me, you are thinking about maximizing your health span to live a long, healthy and strong life, and strength training is a crucial component of this! By incorporating regular strength training into your fitness routine, you're taking proactive steps to preserve muscle mass, improve bone density, and support overall physical and mental health.
Remember, it's never too late to start, and your future self will be incredibly grateful you did!
Remember, before starting any new exercise program, it's important to consult with a healthcare professional or fitness expert, especially if you have any underlying health conditions or concerns.