Only about 23 percent of U.S. adults are meeting federal guidelines for exercise — 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous cardiovascular exercise each week, and two strength-training sessions per week. Most of us could use a little more encouragement and motivation to boost our exercise game. And the data suggest that we should surely show our muscles a little more love with strength training.
When it comes to strength training, a little really does go a long way. If you’ve been skimping on the strength training, consider these reasons to step up your game:
You’ll get stronger.
No surprise — strength training will make you stronger. Improving your strength will make managing nearly everything in your daily life easier. Household chores will be easier. Lifting kids less challenging. Getting your suitcase in and out of the overhead will be a breeze. Even moderate weight training can improve your strength significantly, and make daily tasks and routine exercise more enjoyable and decrease injuries.
You’ll improve athletic performance.
Most pro athletes do some combination of cross training, which almost always includes a strength-training component. Golfers can significantly increase their driving power. Cyclists are able to push through with less fatigue. Skiers and tennis players improve their strength and technique. Whatever sport you play, strength training has been shown to enhance overall performance as well as decrease the risks of injury.
You’ll improve your mood.
Decades of research have shown that exercise improves mood and reduces symptoms pf clinical depression. People who strength-train commonly report feeling more confident and capable as a result of their training regimen.
You may reduce your risk of diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is a major health concern among U.S. adults. Weight training may improve the way your body processes sugar, which may reduce the risk of diabetes. If you already have diabetes, know that weight training increases glucose utilization, which may help you do a better job of managing your disease.
You may reduce pain from arthritis.
Strength training not only builds stronger muscles but also builds stronger connective tissues and increases joint stability. This acts as a reinforcement for the joints and helps prevent injury. It’s been documented through numerous studies that strength training can help to ease the pain of osteoarthritis while simultaneously strengthening joints.
You’ll lose body fat.
Consistent strength training will increase your lean muscle tissue, improve your resting metabolism, and help you burn more calories all day and at rest. Generally speaking, for each pound of muscle you gain, you will burn 35 to 50 more calories per day. Over time, that adds up to a slimmer, tighter, and more toned body.
It’s never too late.