1. You'll be better at, well, everything. Training helps your body to increase its lean muscle mass, which makes lifting anything—not just dumbbells—easier. So carrying those groceries in. Picking your kids up. Cleaning the house. Walking up stairs. All easier when you exercise! In addition, regularly training helps to improve your flexibility, balance, mood, sleep, cognitive function, hormone balance and overall longevity.
2. You'll burn more calories. You probably already know that the physical act of training burns calories, but did you know that strength training and HIIT Cardio (like our kickboxing classes) can help you to burn more calories even when you're not working out? It all goes back to building muscle. It takes more energy (calories) for your body to use and maintain muscle cells than it does fat cells. Thus, by simply training to add more muscle mass, you're boosting your metabolism and turning your body into a more efficient calorie-burning machine.
3. You'll improve your mood and handle stress better. Ever heard of "runner's high"? It doesn't just apply to running. All forms of exercise, including strength training and HIIT Cardio have been shown to release endorphins, which make you feel good. In addition, training has been shown to decrease tension and anxiety, thereby also making it a great de-stressor. Research shows that fit people have lower levels of stress hormones than sedentary individuals do.
4. You'll help your heart. Studies show that training can help prevent heart disease and can even help reduce risks and problems in individuals who already have heart disease. Furthermore, several studies have found that training at a moderate intensity can lower bad cholesterol levels and raise good cholesterol levels, boosting heart health. Additionally, research conducted in the College of Health Sciences’ Department of Health, Leisure and Exercise Science at Appalachian State University has shown that resistance training can lower blood pressure by as much as 20 percent. Researchers say that the healthy heart benefits come from the increased blood flow to the muscles, heart and body.
5. You'll build stronger bones. We may not think of them as such, but bones actually comprise living tissue that get stronger with exercise. With regular strength training and other forms of weight-bearing exercise like walking, running and kickboxing / martial arts you actually improve the health and strength of your bones by improving or maintaining (depending on your age) your bone density.
6. You'll reduce your risk of diabetes (and improve your quality of life if you have diabetes). Regular training at a moderate intensity helps prevent diabetes in a number of ways. First and foremost, lifting weights helps improve the way the body processes sugar. Researchers have also found that weight lifting helps to improve insulin sensitivity and blood glucose control. Additionally, as stated above, resistance training improves heart health by controlling cholesterol and blood pressure, both of which play a role in diabetes management. Researchers have also found that when people with diabetes exercise, it can improve their quality of life, too.
7. You'll lose more weight and look slimmer. Besides burning more calories and boosting your metabolism, training will also help you to lose more body fat. When you cut calories (energy deficit) and start exercising, your body has to pull energy to fuel your body from somewhere. When you're just focusing on dieting, the body can also breaks down muscles for fuel (which is not a good thing). Combine weight training with a high protein calorie reduced diet, then you are actually helping to build and maintain muscle mass while you're losing weight. As a result, your body pulls more energy from your fat & glycogen stores to keep you going, so you can lose more fat while preserving muscle--a win-win!
8. You'll stand taller! If you are following a full-body strength training plan, don't be surprised if you start noticing yourself standing with better posture. Lifting weights can help to improve your range of motion, coordination and the strength of the muscles that help keep your body upright. So just a few weeks of strength training can help you to stand taller, with your shoulders back and your chin up, which makes you appear more confident and look even slimmer!
9. You'll have better focus. Strength training has also been shown to boost brain health. According to an article in the Archives of Internal Medicine, older women who did an hour or two of weightlifting each week improved their cognitive function, and better planned and executed a variety tasks.
So the next time your boss wants you to stay late and miss your regular evening workout, tell her your brain has work to do--at the gym! 😊
10. You'll sleep better. Sometimes, exercising too close to bedtime can make it hard for you to fall asleep. But training (at least two hours before bedtime) has been shown to help prevent sleep apnea and help with insomnia. Not to mention that after a good training session, it just feels good to jump into bed!