Ask 8 people and you’ll get 8 different opinions on the best way to get fit. One will tell you to aerobics is what you need. Someone else will tell you power walking or jogging is the way to go. And still another swears biking was all they had to do. The truth is that while all these can be a good way to burn calories (and stress) there’s really only one effective way to get fit. Before I get into the nuts and bolts, it’s important that we agree on the definition of ‘fit’. Too often just being thin is mistaken for being fit, and that’s not what you should strive for.
When someone is thin, but has very little muscle tissue, they aren’t truly fit.
Here’s why thin doesn’t equal fit:
- Their body fat percentage will be higher than ideal—even though you won’t see a lot of fat on them, if their muscle percentage is low then fat percentage will be higher. (Sometimes called ‘skinny –fat’)
- They have a low resting metabolism, since the less muscle present the fewer calories will be burned at rest.
- Their body won’t have useful strength for daily tasks, which, at best, will be discouraging as well as setting them up for injuries.
So what IS the key to getting truly fit? It’s this simple:
Strength training is using resistance to challenge the muscles to improve strength and endurance.
There are many tools you can use for strength training such as dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells, sandbags, resistance bands and even bodyweight to name a few.
The key is to provide enough resistance to force the muscle to adapt. Only then will strength improve.
Some of the benefits of regular strength training are…
- Improved Strength and muscle tone
- Increased cardiovascular efficiency
- Better Agility, Flexibility and Balance
- Ability to resist injury and disease
If that doesn’t convince you that strength training is the key to fitness consider this:
- Gaining strength and muscle will make your belly, legs and arms tighter and more toned. Rather than making you look bulky you will get leaner and stronger
- If weight loss is a goal strength training helps you keep the muscle you have and ensures that weight loss comes from stored fat not crucial muscle.
- To Build Strong Bones: As we age osteoporosis or loss of bone density is a real threat that can have devastating consequences. Strength training is proven to improve bone density.
- Resistance training is a great way to combat stress
- For better sleep: Studies consistently show that strength training improves sleep, no sleeping pill needed.
- To alleviate Chronic Back Pain: Back pain affects 20-30% of Americans at any given time. It is the single leading cause of disability worldwide; it is one of the most common reasons for missed work. And American spend at least $50 billion each year on back pain1 If back pain is keeping you from the things you want or need to do, Strength training may be the cure you have been searching for.
- Better blood sugar control; when doing strength training your body uses glucose from the blood stream to power the muscles. And toned muscles store glucose more effectively which can help regulate blood sugar when at rest. According to a study in JAMA nearly 50% of adults in the US have diabetes or prediabetes. Strength training can help get, and keep, blood sugar under control
- Improving the ratio of HDL Cholesterol to LDL and lowering Triglycerides Strength training can positively impact overall blood cholesterol levels for better heart health. By increasing the amount of muscle, you increase the number of calories your body burns. Higher metabolism means you will burn more calories even at rest allowing you to reduce body fat and help maintain a healthy body composition, a definite win-win.
- Strength training can firm and strengthen your legs, lift your booty, and will help develop core strength to keep low back pain at bay…
Losing pounds and inches off your trouble spots, improving heart health, sleeping better, and getting rid of persistent back pain doesn’t have to be a pipe dream. With the right training you can do all this and more. A better quality of life is waiting for you. Call today to get started on a strength training program and see how great you can look and feel.
- Back Pain Patient Outcomes Assessment Team (BOAT). In MEDTEP Update, Vol. 1 Issue 1, Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, Rockville, MD.