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Corpus Christi Caller-Times
There has never been a better time to include strength training in your fitness program than now. Working out with weights or doing resistance activities offers a whole host of benefits from improved muscle tone to increased energy and bone density. In fact, with all the health benefits strength training provides, you can't afford not to do it.
- Maintains strength. Everything we do requires strength. From the simplest movements such as vacuuming and preparing a meal, to more complex tasks like lifting and pushing, your body needs strength to move. Following a full-body, well-rounded resistance training program helps maintain your ability to carry out everyday tasks without difficulty.
- Reduces risk of injuries. Resistance training not only strengthens muscles but also strengthens connective tissues such as tendons. Tendon injuries in sport and ordinary activities can be very common but regular strength training will reduce the likelihood of these injuries.
- Prevents osteoporosis. Impact activities such as walking and jogging are excellent at building bone density in the legs and spine. However, common fracture sites also include the wrists, elbow, and shoulder, where impact activities have no effect. The solution is to strengthen the entire skeleton through resistance training because lifting weights stimulates our skeleton (bones) to become thicker and stronger, which helps counteract brittle bones.
- Helps weight management. Muscle is a metabolically active tissue so the more muscle your body has, the more calories you burn. Adding just one pound of muscle to your frame equates to burning an extra 50 calories a day.
- Prevents sarcopenia. Sarcopenia is the naturally occurring muscle wastage that happens as we age. Unless we get moving, muscle mass is lost at a rate of 3 to 5 percent per decade from age 30 on. However, doing a resistance workout 2-3 times/week can not only prevent sarcopenia, but can actually reverse it, so it is never too late to start.
- Is essential for power and speed in sports. Muscle power is a key factor at every level of sports performance. If you do not have good muscular strength, then your ability to run, jump, throw, hit or kick will be reduced. Resistance training enables athletes to specifically target the muscle groups that are relevant to their sport, helping them become faster and more physically able to cope with the demands of their sports on their bodies.
- Helps you feel good. As is the case with any form of exercise, finishing a strength-training workout brings about a feeling of well-being and accomplishment. This fosters an increased confidence and gives you a well-deserved mental boost.
Angie Ferguson is an exercise physiologist from Fort Myers, Florida. She is a USA Triathlon Advanced Level 2 coach, Ironman Certified coach, Slowtwitch Certified coach, USA Cycling coach and has a Specialty in Sports Nutrition certification. For more training tips, read her blog at www.triathlontrainingisfun.com or contact her at www.gearedup.biz."
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