When you think of building muscles, many people think of how they LOOK in their body.
What many people don’t typically know is muscles are closely linked with your overall health – and also with the aging process.
I’m sure you’ve heard that exercise is important to your overall health, but the truth is not all exercise is created equal and some exercise routines can even BREAK down your muscle.
So, first let’s break down the 7 reasons to start building muscle right now and how it will play in your overall and long term health:
1. You start losing muscle (atrophying) around the age of 30.
Yes, you read that right. On average, people lose around 3%-8% each decade… and then it speeds up after you turn 60.
The sooner you get started on building your muscle “bank,” the better!
Muscle loss is one of the top causes of disability for older people – they become too weak to live alone and are more prone to falls and injuries.
2. You’ll build stronger bones.
Many people start losing about 1% of their bone mass PER YEAR after the age of 40?
Stressing your bones (when you’re doing it in a healthy way through strength training!) will help boost your bone density and cut the risk of osteoporosis and fractures when you get older.
3. It can help with fat loss.
If you’re trying to lose weight, strength-training workouts are an important tool – and they can help you keep and build muscle as you get leaner.
4. It can help sharpen your thinking.
Studies link regular strength training and aerobic exercise with better brain function and memory.
5. It’ll improve your quality of life.
Your everyday activities get easier – starting pretty much right away. Studies show that building muscle through strength training can help prevent anxiety and depression, create more energy, help you sleep better and help with confidence and self-esteem.
6. It can improve and help you keep your balance.
This can help you avoid slip & fall accidents now and as you get older as well as and protect your joints from injury.
7. It can help you manage chronic conditions.
Lifting weights can help you cut back on symptoms of arthritis, chronic pain, depression, diabetes, obesity and heart disease.
Now, let’s expand on that last one – YOUR Heart is an amazing muscle and exercise and the proper training can
- strengthen your heart so it becomes more efficient, allowing it to push out more blood with every beat (lowering your resting heart rate),
- boost blood flow to your heart,
- help lower blood pressure by improving your blood vessels’ ability to dilate,
- make it easier for your muscles and tissues to get oxygen from your blood and
- help your nervous system manage stress even while you are resting
Now I don’t know about you but a strength training exercise program is as close to a “miracle drug” as you can get!
So, all that sounds GREAT, right? Still, if you’ve never tried strength training before, getting started can seem a little intimidating so here are some quick considerations:
- It’s important to know that it takes long-term consistency to achieve results. This includes training at least 2 times a week, or even better 3 – 4 times a week but for most, not more than that.
- You must manipulate certain variables in order to see results. These include:
- increasing the weight
- varying the number of repetitions per set
- adjusting the number of days you lift
- changing how long you rest between sets
- adjusting how many sets you perform
- Decide on your main goal within the goal of building muscle. Do you want to
- Build True Strength – adapt to lifting heavier weights over time
- Create Hypertrophy – Increase your muscle size
- Build Muscular Endurance – Allowing you to push your body further and further
- Create Power – this can be very important in certain sports
- Start Slow. You should never start lifting heavy weights right away. Start with light weights and build up very slowly so you don’t get injured.
- Warm up. When preparing to lift heavier weights, it’s important to warm up your body before performing. This can include lighter aerobic activity, lighter weight sets, and dynamic warm-up exercise like arms circles, leg kicks, and windmills.
- Make sure you use proper form. Doing movements in proper form can once again ensure that you won’t injure yourself.
- Seek the help of friends or family for motivation and to stay accountable and to see even better results, consider seeking out the guidance of a professional, like a personal trainer so they can create a tailored training program for your personal goals, injury and health history and the time you have available to do the training each week.
- MOST importantly – Make it FUN and ENJOY IT! 🙂