By Kristin Quinn, Losing weight or becoming healthier seem to be two of the most common resolutions people make each January. The problem is that most individuals do not have the proper knowledge to be successful and lose hope a few months into their journey.

To help people achieve their health-related goals, I am going to address the benefits of strength training and the types of exercise people need to incorporate to become fit.

Let’s be honest, most people that exercise either, run, walk or bike to burn calories. They skip the weights in fear of getting hurt, a lack of confidence or concerns about building too much muscle. Cardiovascular exercise is important, but when it is combined with strength training, you will see positive results in your mind and body. Many new exercisers have the misconception and associate strength training with bodybuilding and athletic performance. Strength training in actuality gives your body so much more and can benefit people of all ages.

The benefits of strength training include:

• Promoting a healthy body weight. As you gain more muscle, your body begins to burn more calories effectively and efficiently. By doing as little as 30 minutes of strength training three times a week, you will be able to build muscle tissue and help increase your metabolism to promote weight loss.

• Developing strong bones. Strength training increases bone density and reduces the risk of osteoporosis. Maintaining strong muscles through weight training helps to keep up your balance and coordination, which is critical in preventing falls that can lead to fractures. Studies show that strength training over a period of time can help prevent bone loss and may even help build new bone.

• Improving muscle tissue, joints and daily movements. Building muscles takes pressure off joints; essentially muscles become cushions for joints. When people are stronger they have better balance, coordination and mobility to do activities throughout the day.

• Improving mental health. Strength training elevates endorphin levels, which will make you feel great and give you more energy throughout the day. Such training has also been linked to be a great antidepressant, to help you sleep better and to improve your overall quality of life.

• Playing a role in disease prevention: Strength training can reduce the symptoms of many chronic conditions, including back pain, arthritis, obesity, heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers. It has been demonstrated that strength training help to decrease blood pressure in adolescents and adults. Also, Americans with type 2 diabetes, use strength training along with other healthy lifestyle changes to help improve glucose control.

Here are some tips on how to start strength training, which can be done at home or at a gym.

• You can complete an at-home workout with little or no equipment by using your body weight. Effective body weight exercises include pushups, planks, squats and hip bridges.

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